The dethroned African champions are looking for fresh motivation after a run of poor results
Nigeria’s Super Falcons are in Japan to take on the Nadeshiko Japan (Women’s National Team) in an international friendly slated for Thursday, October 6, at the NOEVIR Stadium in Kobe.
Both national teams have qualified for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, and this clash is part of their preparations for the Mundial.
The Super Falcons booked their World Cup ticket by reaching the semifinals of the Women Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco in June.
But the nine-time WAFCON Queens ended the tournament on a disappointing note, losing to Morocco in the last four before succumbing tamely to Zambia in the bronze medal match.
It has not gotten any better for the coach Ralph Waldrum-tutored side since that competition.
The Falcons lost both of their friendly matches to the United States, first suffering a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of the Americans before putting up a stiffer fight in a 2-1 defeat three days later.
Japan have had no such troubles in recent times, with the Asian Ladies forcing convincing defeats down the throat of Finland, Serbia, the Korea Republic, and Chinese Taipei.
The Nadeshiko’s last outing was, however, a goalless draw with the China People’s Republic in July.
The friendly in Kobe is the fourth meeting between Nigeria and Japan. The 2011 World champions won two of the previous three fixtures, claiming 2-0 and 2-1 victories in back-to-back friendly games in 2013.
Nigeria, however, have the bragging rights in the only competitive encounter between the continental queens.
A Vera Okolo strike in the 55th minute was all the Super Falcons needed to edge Japan at the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece.
Super Falcons predicted lineup (4-2-3-1):
Nnadozie; Ogbonna, Ohale, Demehin, Imuran; Ucheibe, Payne; Alozie, Echegini, Ajibade; Onumonu.
Competition: International friendly
Game: Japan vs. Nigeria
Venue: NOEVIR Stadium Kobe
Date: October 6, 2022
Kick-off time: 8:25 am (Nigerian time)
The Super Falcons are low on confidence following a poor run of results.
And coach Waldrum is still a mile away from identifying his best starting eleven, which is not the ideal condition to face the Nadeshiko.
Japan will show no mercy in front of a partisan home fan. And it will take something special for Nigeria to carve out a win.
Tip: Japan to win.