South Africa established their quality again in the Group C opener against the Super Falcons by defeating the Nigerians 2-1
The Super Falcons got another reality check against Banyana Banyana on Monday, as they were outplayed, outthought and outfought in their 2022 WAFCON opener.
Randy Waldrum had previously blamed the team’s 4-2 loss against South Africa at the Aisha Buhari Cup to the absence of certain key midfielders.
In Morocco on Monday, he had a full collection of players but the team barely showed any system of play and set out with a confusing method.
This has long been concerns about Waldrum’s approach. There is no clarity as to how he aims to set out to win.
Other than the coach and his questionable system, some senior players in the squad just didn’t show up, notably star player Asisat Oshoala and the experienced Rita Chikwelu.
How did the players fare?
Tochukwu Oluehi – In the absence of the suspended Chiamaka Nnadozie, Oluehi didn’t do badly. She marshaled her defense on occasions and was caught severally yelling out at her defenders to push further up the pitch.
She was left in no man’s land for both goals and couldn’t have done anything to keep them out. – 5/10
Michelle Alozie – Alozie didn’t hit the ground running on her first WAFCON appearance. She struggled to get going in the opening exchanges as her passing was wayward and her composure looked suspect.
But once she settled, she provided a real attacking impetus from her right back position and defended decently at times. Must learn to balance both departments but can be a real deal in the tournament. – 6/10
Onome Ebi: At 39, Ebi is the oldest player in the tournament, but it was hardly evident in her game. She was put to pace by Kgatlana on many occasions and she didn’t do badly. Her ball reading covered for her many times and it wasn’t a bad performance overall. She played for spells without enough cover from the midfield and went route one on most occasions. Probably on the coach’s instruction. – 5/10
Osinachi Ohale: Like her defensive partner, she had a decent game, as there was no cover for large spells. She has had better days in a Nigerian shirt. Could have done better with her positioning for the second goal. – 5/10
Ashleigh Plumptre: Showed great vision, skill and agility all game. Her delivery and ball-play stood out as one of the cleanest and best in the team. She struggled with the South Africans’ pace but beat her marker skillfully on most occasions also. Was caught in her wake for the first goal. Not a bad start to WAFCON life from an individual’s point of view. – 6/10
Halimatu Ayinde: She had a below-par performance. Hardly provided any cover despite playing as a part of a double pivot. She was played out of the park. – 4/10
Rita Chikwelu: She barely put any foot right. Her passing lacked creativity and the presence of her experience barely helped in the midfield. She was substituted later in the game and that change was far too late. – 3/10
Rasheedat Ajibade: She was everywhere on the pitch and as Soccernet stated in a previous article, finding her best position will be significant to how the Super Falcons perform at the WAFCON. She showed more aggression and desire than her teammates and rightly got the well-taken consolation. – 6.5/10
Toni Payne: The Sevilla star ran all game as she barely got service from the midfield. Her pace and skill however proved to be assets in some areas. Had very little space to work with, but showed what could be. – 4.5/10
Ify Onumonu: Her height looked to be the target as the Super Falcons went direct on most occasions. She had decent flicks for Oshoala and if the Barcelona Femeni forward had been in her element, she should be getting on the end of those.
Struggled playing from the left side of the attack but showed enough to exhibit some of her qualities. She was subbed off for Francesca Ordega- 4.5/10
Asisat Oshoala: Came close to scoring but her shot was saved by Dlamini. Suffered a knee injury that made her struggle all game until she was subbed off for Uchenna Kanu. Not close to her usual standard. – 3/10
Uchenna Kanu – Didn’t have much to do but pressed better when she came on. – N/A
Vivian Okechukwu – Attempted to add more steel to the midfield but struggled to hold the fleet-footed South Africans. – N/A
Francesca Ordega – N/A