Continental women’s champions, Super Falcons of Nigeria, kicked off the reign of American coach Randy Waldrum on an impressive note by winning the inaugural edition of the Festival Women’s Trophy otherwise known as the Turkish Women’s Cup in Antalya, Turkey.
The Super Falcons won all their three matches at the four-team invitational tournament held under strict COVID-19 protocols between February 17 and 23.
Match agent Jairo Pachon of Eurodata who organised the tournament along with MC Sport agency said it was a great start for the Super Falcons under Waldrum who is the third foreigner to manage the Nigerians.
“It is a good way for the new coach to begin his mandate with the Super Falcons and it was also a good opportunity for the players to get together after a long lay-off without international matches,” Pachon noted.
Meanwhile, in their first game since being eliminated by Cote d’Ivoire in the qualifying tournament for Tokyo 2020 Olympics’ football event 16 months ago, the Super Falcons opened their account at the Emir Sports Complex in Antalya with a 1-0 win over CSKA Moscow Ladies courtesy of Chinwendu Ihezuo’s strike. Midfielder Halimatu Ayinde scored the solitary match winner against Uzbekistan in the team’s second match.
But the West Africans did save their scoring best for the last match against perennial continental rivals Equatorial Guinea’s Nzalang National who incidentally were the only team to have denied Nigeria the AWCON title when they edged the Super Falcons 1-0 in the semi-finals en route to their first AWCON title on home soil in 2008.
But in Antalya, the Super Falcons would have none of that and trumped the two-time African Champions 9-0 in what looked like a one-sided match with FC Barcelona striker and Falcons captain Asisat Oshoala getting a remarkable four of the total goals.
Other goal scorers include Gloria Ogbonna, Uchenna Kanu, Charity Adule, newly-capped Toni Oyedupe Payne and Gift Monday.
An impressed 64-year-old Waldrum who signed a formal agreement with the Nigeria Football Federation(NFF) on the margins of the tournament, said the tournament gave him an opportunity to size up the players, adding he would work on expanding the pool of players for the record nine African champions.