Super Falcons’ Waldrum speaks on leaving out Oshoala, target for second leg in South Africa: “We’re the best in Africa”

Randy Waldrum, head coach of the Nigerian women’s national team, has revealed the reason why he left out Asisat Oshoala from the Super Falcons team that defeated South Africa 1-0 at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja on Friday night, reports.

Chiwendu Ihezuo won the penalty, which Rasheedat Ajibade converted expertly in the first half to hand Nigeria a crucial first-leg advantage in the final playoff qualifier for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Mexico-based Ihezuo was preferred in the starting lineup ahead of former Barcelona forward Oshoala, with the Pachuca Femenil striker impressing in attack for the Super Falcons.

When coach Waldrum decided to rejig his forward line in the second half, he snubbed Oshoala and introduced Toni Payne, Esther Okoronkwo, and Rinsola Babajide instead.

Asked at the post-match press conference why he did not play the Bay FC star, coach Waldrum said Oshoala’s arrival in camp barely 24 hours before the match was key to his decision.

The American gaffer insists he remains uncertain whether the former Liverpool and Arsenal ace will even feature in the return leg.

“We’ll like to sit down and watch the videos to see what we want to come up with for the second match,” Waldrum said, as monitored by

“I could not tell you tonight if she (Oshoala) will play or she won’t. She just arrived in camp, so obviously, physically, from the travels she had, I didn’t feel she was prepared to play for us tonight.”

Nigeria’s slim win over South Africa in Abuja was the Super Falcons’ first victory over the Banyana Banyana in their last three meetings.

The South Africans are the reigning continental champions, but Waldrum maintains that his squad is the best team in Africa.

There is a second leg to play in Pretoria on Tuesday, with the Super Falcons coming under criticism for not recording a win of a bigger margin against the Banyana Banyana.

Waldrum is not worried about the scoreline, though, insisting the return fixture gives the Super Falcons a chance to show who the best team in Africa is.

“As for what I feel about the next leg, there is no difference if we would have won by two (goals) instead of one,” the Pittsburgh Panthers coach said.

“I still feel like we have to go and get a result there.

“We don’t want to go and sit back and try to defend and hold on to this victory.

“I think we still want to show that we are the best team in Africa and we are the better team. I thought we showed that tonight, and we’ll show it again next week.”

Nigeria and South Africa were absent from the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, but the Super Falcons only need to avoid defeat on Tuesday to secure their place at Paris 2024.

NB: Would you want Chiwendu Ihezuo to start ahead of Asidat Oshoala in the second leg in South Africa? Leave your comments below.

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