The Super Falcons gaffer has often been accused of using players in unnatural positions but he has explained the motive behind it
Waldrum was appointed coach of the Super Falcons in October 2020, and he has led the team to a series of tournaments. The American tactician also led Nigeria to the last Women’s Africa Cup of Nations where they finished fourth after losses to Zambia and Morocco.
Despite spending three years with the Falcons, Waldrum still does not have his first eleven. And Super Falcons fans have complained about his constant tinkering which has been unproductive.
For example, during the last WAFCON, Ashleigh Plumptre played as a left-back in Nigeria’s first game against South Africa.
Nigeria are currently playing in the Revelation Cup, a four-nation competition. They lost their first game against hosts Mexico, and Waldrum still played some of the girls out of position.
The 66-year-old has now revealed that the reason for his constant tinkering is that he is yet to get his best lineup. And he cited a situation at Manchester United as an example.
“To succeed at the World Cup, we need to find a way to get the best eleven players on the field, that’s the objective of any team,” Waldrum said per NFF TV.
“I’ve heard the criticism about players playing out of position, but you have to understand.
“Using the right wing position as an example, we have Francesca Ordega who plays there for her club
“There’s Toni Payne, Rasheedat Ajibade, and Michel Alozie. So if we don’t try to look for other positions for those players, then only one of them will play and the rest will sit down or not make the squad.
“That can be said be said in the other positions. We have five central defenders now. So I took a look at Plumptre in the holding midfield spot(against Mexico) because of the similarities in both positions just to see if that is something she can play, to get out best eleven on the pitch.
“These games that we have, we certainly want to win, but we want to experiment to see our best lineup.
“For example, I wouldn’t want to play Rashidat and bench Payne. I think Payne is one of our best players so we must find a way to get those players playing.
“Being a Manchester United fan, I equate it to Erik Ten Hag’s decision to play Luke Shaw as a center-back instead of in his natural left-back position. He has never played that position before.”
It is barely five months to the World Cup, and Waldrum has to get his acts together so that Nigeria will give a good account of themselves in the tournament.