Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nigeria in the World Cup Semi-Final

(@ picture-alliance/dpa)

Not saying anything about the Nigeria national under 20 Women team blasting the defending FIFA World Cup defending Champions, USA out of the tournament, is grossly irresponsible of me, and I apologise. It is a diski history making effort that needs an applause and respect from all Africans. The United States of America were not holders of the Cup for any other reason than being the best in the business. The game they call soccer (pronounced sucker) is widely regarded a girl's game.


The young and beautiful Nigerian girls, known as the Falconets, won a penalty shootout to claim a place in the semi-finals at the end of an enthralling struggle in Augsburg. USA's Sydney Leroux who missed with the US' fifth penalty to seal the African side's 4-2 victory. Captain Christine Nairn's attempt was also saved by the goalkeeper.

The Nigerian damsels will lock horns with Colombia today in the  FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup in Germany and may well be  Africa's first team to reach the finals of a world tournament if they dispatch the South Americans. While Suarez is Uruguayan and Nigeria are not Ghana, being a ladies match, victory will always be revenge or poetic justice for the way.

My issue here from a coaching view, is, coming on this match on a high and knowing Columbia are making their maiden appearance in the tournament, keeping heads cool will be a tough one for the technical staff. Us, Africans usually fail to contain success, as evidenced by our love for partying and dance. Well, Ghana will come to mind, again of course. We wilt when it matters most, and that is the coaches job now, to say it has not mattered most at this stage.

Nigerians improvement their game over the years finishing last in their group in 2002 and then 3rd in 2004 and reaching the quarter-finals. They were second in their group in 2006 but lost a quarter-final match to Brazil while in 2008 they fell to France in the quarter-final after leading their group.


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