Nigeria have dominated women's football on the continent since the African Women's Championship (AWC) was first staged. The Super Falcons have won seven of nine tournaments and the two times they have not won the competition it did not double as a qualifying tournament for the FIFA Women's World Cup™. Their overall record at the AWC is a remarkable 36 wins and five draws in 45 matches.
They secured their ticket to Canada by winning the ninth AWC in Namibia in October, winning all five matches they played, scoring 16 goals in the process and conceding just three. They topped their group after comfortable victories against Namibia, Zambia and Côte d'Ivoire, before beating South Africa 2-1 in the semi-finals. In the championship match they secured a 2-0 victory against Cameroon.
In Africa, the Super Falcons have achieved success playing an all-out attacking style of play and it is not surprising that the top two scorers from the African championship were Nigerian. But with nine goals between them, Desire Oparanozie (five) and Asisat Oshoala (four) eclipsed the total scored by any other team that played in Namibia. Although only 20, Oparanozie is vastly experienced, having represented their country at the 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany, the 2010 and 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup and the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup.
Oshoala played at the last two U-20 World Cup competitions and won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot award at Canada 2014. Nigeria will be hoping that the two players can take their form from Namibia to Canada. The Super Falcons defence will undoubtedly have more to do in Canada than they did in Namibia and coach Edwin Okon can depend on veteran Onome Ebi and Osinachi Ohale to marshal the defence.
Edwin Okon was appointed coach of the senior women's side after leading Nigeria's U-20 team to a fourth place finish at the U-20 World Cup in Japan. He is also in charge of Port Harcourt Premier League club Rivers Angels and several of the clubs' players are in his Super Falcons squad.
FIFA Women's World Cup record
- This is Nigeria's seventh appearance in the tournament, having qualified for each previous edition of the competition
- Nigeria's best performance was at USA 1999 when they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Brazil after finishing second in their group
What they said
“We can't go to the World Cup to merely add to the numbers, but we're going there to participate and to prove a point. I can't say right away how far we'll go at the World Cup, but I'm positive we won't disappoint Nigerians when hostilities start in Canada. We have quality and experienced players in our midst who can turn things around," Asisat Oshoala, Nigeria striker