August, 6 2023.
The weight of expectation of the entire Africa continent concerning proceedings at the ongoing FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, appears to now rest on the shoulders of the Super Falcons of Nigeria, who takes on the Lionesses of England in one of the Round of 16 fixtures scheduled for Monday.
Out of the three African teams that braved the odds to make it to the second round, reigning CAF Awcon champions South Africa have already exited the tournament, after the Banyana Banyana got thrashed 2-0 by the Netherlands on Sunday morning.
The Atlas Lionesses of Morocco has debutants at the Mundial are billed to play Le Blues of France on Tuesday, but the prospect of another fiery tale upset is very remote, being that everyday is not necessarily Christmas.
As a consequence, none-time African Champions, the Super Falcons of Nigeria with an added experience of having been to every edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup since its inception in 1999, stands the best chance of ensuring that Africa has at least one team in the last eight.
While the Atlas Lionesses of Morocco was by a mile the team that was best catered for by their respective governments, the Super Falcons of Nigeria were in turbulence as their Head Coach, Randy Waldrum and the NFF were in a very worrisome altercation that would have been blamed, had the team fallen short of expectation like they did at the 2022 Women's Afcon in Morocco.
As fate would have it, the American and his players found a way round their not being well-treated by the NFF hierarchy, qualified for the second round with some swag and could go a step further, when they play England.
Remarkably, England colonised Nigeria and the other two African sides in the Round of 16, Morocco and South Africa were likewise paired against the national teams of their former colonial Lords.
The Lionesses of England are No. 4 in the FIFA Women's Rankings, Le Blues of France are No. 5 and the Orange Ladies of the Netherlands are No. 9.and while the trio are in the top ten, Nigeria is Africa's best ranked team at No. 40, South Africa are 54th and Morocco are lowly 72nd in the global rankings.
By virtue of this, one is tempted to concur with the permutations of bookmakers, that the African teams stand no chance of making it to the quarterfinals, as they will be swimming against the tide of the ocean.
But then, this expanded World Cup has already thrown up some shocks and surprises that the so called underdog teams, can draw inspiration from www.ckdmedia.ng reports.