His experience of women’s football is majestic with more than 30 years as manager. Previously Coach of Trinidad & Tobago Women’s National Team, and USA U-23 Women amongst others, Randy Waldrum is now the coach of Nigeria’s Super Falcons.
Following the draw for the Total Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, Morocco 2022 qualifeirs, CAFOnline.com talked to the American-born coach about what he thinks of women’s football in Africa, and about his next opponent in the qualifiers which is none other than Ghana.
CAFOnline.com: You held many positions before. How do you feel being coach of Nigeria, most successful team in African women’s football?
Randy Waldrum: Well, I’m really excited and thankful for the opportunity. I have to give a lot of credit to President Amaju Pinnick and General Secretary Dr Sanusi. I appreciate the opportunity and trust they’ve put in me to run the program and I’m very excited. I’ve been with the team, only once in Turkey for our first event and really enjoyed. I think it’s a great group of talented players and the biggest thing right now is getting enough time with them to fulfill some more of the training and the game models that we want to present.
All the teams in the continent hope to defeat Nigeria, is that something that you fear?
I think you always embrace the challenge. Obviously, this is a difficult draw, we have a lot of respect for Ghana, and we know the strength and power of that team. But as far as the pressure of the job and the task at hand, I think that’s something that any competitor truly embraces, and you know I think the biggest thing for me is that I’m just ready to get to work.
Your opponents, the Black Queens of Ghana are also among the best teams of the continent. What would be your strategy against them?
Well, I think, right now, I’ve got to do a little more homework, because obviously being from the US I’m a little bit newer to all the African nations but I know the history. I know several of the results over the years against Ghana and I understand, as I mentioned earlier, the strength of this team, so we have a lot of respect for them. I think the biggest thing for me right now is worrying about our team and putting together our plan the way we want to play.
And again, that takes some time and that’s what we’ve been working on this year as we’ve gotten together, and we’ve got a few more international matches coming up in June and September so we’re looking forward to that. I think right now, the focus is more on preparing our team properly and as we get closer than we will start to prepare a little bit more for Ghana.
Nigeria has also an amazing story with FIFA Women’s World Cup, recording eight participation so far. Is that something you already think about?
Everyone knows Nigeria’s history in the Women World Cup, the success and even some of the shortcomings. I think what any good coach wants is the challenge to see if you can’t take the country even a step farther than they’ve been before. So that’s obviously the goal, we understand we’ve got to get through Women AFCON first before we can start thinking about the World Cup. Our next focus now that we know the draw and how things are going to work, the focus now will be on preparing for those games.