15 players of Nigeria’s Super Falcons trained today in Japan ahead of tomorrow’s pre world cup friendly between both nations at Noevir Stadium in Kobe.
Latest arrival, midfielder Christy Ucheibe was part of the exercise which was oversaw by Falcons’ American coach, Randy Waldrum.
Coach Waldrum in today’s pre match briefing in Japan said that his team possessed the potential to ruffle big feathers in next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand:
“As far as the world cup is concerned, our expectations are to make a deep run, to get out of our group.
We feel like we have the talent to do that.
Right now we just need time together with the team to prepare properly.”
For Wladrum, there is no better preparation than playing against global women football super powers like the Japanese:
“I think for us, it’s good we play these kinds of games against the best teams in the world because we know that’s what’s going to be like in the world cup.
“We just got back from the US playing two matches against the US team and now we’ve come here to Japan to play against one of the world’s best as well.
“So we’ve got some young players with us, I think it’s one of those things we need to find out where we are lacking, where we are deficient.
“We know playing teams like Japan will expose us in some areas we need to improve upon.
“I always believe you don’t get better if you don’t play in the best competitions.
“So that’s one of the reasons we wanted to come here because we know the quality of the team in Japan.
They will certainly prepare us for the things we need to work on over the next two months.”
Dissecting the Japanese team ahead of tomorrow’s meeting, Waldrum expressed excitement at the prospect of playing such a well endowed team:
“One thing that has impressed me in the last few years about Japan is that they’ve maintained the quality of players, they’ve always had the technical ability and skills of the players.
“But now they’ve even evolved with even more stronger and physical players as well.
So we know the challenge is going to be difficult, gonna be a great experience for us in terms of preparing for the world cup.”
Both Nigeria and Japan have clashed only once at competitive level – at the 2004 Olympic Women’s Football Tournament.
Nadeshiko as the Japanese ladies are also known pipped the Falcons 1-0 at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus on 14th August 2004.
Two back-to-back friendlies in 2013 were won 2-0 each by Nadeshiko.
The Super Falcons have participated in every FIFA Women’s World Cup finals since the competition began in 1991, reaching the quarter finals in 1999.
The 11 time African champions will know their world cup group stage opponents during the draw scheduled for 22 October 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand.
32 teams will take part in the biggest-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup finals set for nine cities in Australia and New Zealand from 20th July to 20th August 2023.
15 Falcons in Kobe
4 Players just arrived making it 19 in Camp;