Super Falcons World Cup Preparations Plagued by Chaos

Super Falcons World Cup Preparations Plagued by Chaos
Credit: Iconsport

With less than three weeks remaining until the commencement of the FIFA Women's World Cup, tension is mounting within the Super Falcons World Cup camp as coach Randy Waldrum expresses his frustrations with the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF).

Waldrum has openly criticized the NFF regarding several issues, including Super Falcons World Cup team selection, unpaid bonuses, and the absence of his assistant.

The Super Falcons are set to begin their World Cup campaign on July 21 against the formidable Canadian team, followed by matches against hosts Australia and the Republic of Ireland in a challenging first-round group.

Waldrum's controversy reached its peak when he claimed that experienced goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi was expelled from the team for advocating for the payment of bonuses.

The conflict escalated further when the NFF demanded that Waldrum replace Oluehi with a domestic-based goalkeeper, and upon his refusal, they ensured that his assistant, Lauren Gregg, would not be present at the World Cup.

The team's preparations for the tournament now face significant disruption and uncertainty, further complicating their prospects in the highly competitive global event.

He reported in the Sounding off on soccer with John Krysinsky Podcast : “After the loss in Morocco (WAFCON 2022), the players hadn’t been paid and so they boycotted training before the match against Zambia.

“My backup goalkeeper (Tochukwu Oluehi) spoke to the federation about not getting paid and they didn’t like how she spoke and so they dismissed her from the national team. Eventually they let her back only if she wrote an apology letter.

“They wanted me to pick a goalkeeper from Nigeria for the World Cup that I have never seen, has never been in one of our camps. I said no, that my contract says I pick my teams, so they retaliated that I can’t take my assistant coach (Lauren Gregg).”

In addition to the ongoing issues surrounding team selection and the absence of his assistant, Super Falcons coach Randy Waldrum has expressed his concerns about the lack of adequate preparation for the upcoming FIFA Women's World Cup.

Frustrated with the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Waldrum openly criticized the federation, stating, ” I know we are not prepared the way we need to be … been very frustrated with the federation (NFF) and the lack of support.

” We were supposed to have a camp for 10-12 days in Nigeria before going to Australia for another 10-15 days, but the federation canceled the camp in Nigeria”

However, to the disappointment of Waldrum and the team, the NFF decided to cancel the camp in Nigeria, leaving the Super Falcons with limited time to fine-tune their tactics and build team cohesion ahead of the tournament. This last-minute change has further added to the challenges faced by the team as they strive to perform at their best on the global stage.

NFF Responds Strongly to Coach Waldrum's Criticisms, Accusing Him of Deflection and Wasting Resources

The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) responded strongly to coach Randy Waldrum's criticisms, accusing him of deflecting blame and hiding behind his own deficiencies. Ademola Olajire, the NFF's Director of Communication, expressed his disappointment with Waldrum's statements, stating that the coach was attempting to waste resources.

The NFF's reaction, as seen on Brila FM's website, “We have to first ask when the European season ended. The man wanted a two-week camping for only home-based professionals (whom he already gave very little consideration in his provisional list).

“Like two weeks ago, he released his final list of 23, meaning there was absolutely no need for any camping for home-based again except to simply waste resources. “Instead of admitting his glaring deficiencies, he is there shooting his mouth off.”

The NFF further criticized Waldrum's player selection, saying: “He knows he will not have Rasheedat Ajibade and Halimatu Ayinde (two key players) for the opening match against Canada, yet he left out Ngozi Okobi and Regina Otu from the squad!

“The NFF wanted him to groom a home-based goal tender like Chiamaka Nnadozie was groomed.

“Instead, he kept bringing Yewande Balogun (who actually started as a goalkeeper coach!) all the time without consideration for a home girl. The same lady has only kept goal in one friendly match in over 2 years (and only because Chiamaka was badly injured in a friendly in Mexico earlier this year).

He added: “The NFF felt it would make more sense for the 23 to go straight to Australia and camp for 15/16 days acclimatising to the weather and conditions.”

The NFF dismissed Waldrum's outbursts as an afterthought, emphasizing that the World Cup departure was only three days away and he should focus on the upcoming task. “His outbursts are nothing but an after-thought. He’s talking only 3 days to the team’s departure to the World Cup.”

They also challenged Waldrum's claim of not knowing any home-based goalkeepers, “Randy  says that you don’t know any home-based goalkeeper but you could pick players like Oluwatosin Demehin, Rofiat Imuran and Deborah Abiodun who had home-based goalkeepers with them at the same U20 WC where you spotted them.”

In conclusion, the NFF urged the coach to concentrate on the imminent Women's World Cup and redirect his attention to the responsibilities at hand. “There is no need to say more. the women's world cup is around the corner and he should simply concentrate on the task at hand”

SEE ALSO | NFF Make Peseiro Contract Decision Ahead of AFCON 2023

This article was most recently revised and updated 11 months ago

Rababe Koussaimi, a 22-year-old journalist, is deeply passionate about the world of sports. She grew up in a footballing environment, supporting both Bayern Munich and Wydad Athletic Club. She began her English journalism career by hosting a podcast for the first English radio station in Morocco. Currently, the Moroccan journalist channels her enthusiasm into writing and conducting extensive research, creating insightful and engaging content for GoalBall Live readers.