As the Falcons round off their preparations for the FIFA Women’s World Cup starting June 26, team captain Precious Dede has told Nigerians not to write off the team.
The Falcons coached by Eucharia Uche came under scrutiny after they were dumped out of the 2011 All African Games by Ghana’s under-20 women team. However, the Falcons seem to have picked up the pieces in their training tour of Austria with confidence boosting wins in their warm up games.
“Don’t rule us out of reaching the final of the World Cup. Dede sounded.
She said that the Germany 2011 World Cup presented another opportunity for the Falcons to prove that they were not just ‘local champions’ in Africa.
“This is another chance to have a go at achieving something better at the world stage. This is the time to go out there and show our stuff..”
She expressed confidence on the ability of the coaching crew to provide the right tonic that will see the team excel.
“I am counting on our coaches – led by Eucharia Uche – to bring out the best in us, and by the time we have rounded up our preparations in Austria, I am very sure that we will be ready to take on the world.”
Nigeria are in group A along side hosts Germany, Canada and France. The Falcons will play their first game
Five women to watch
Marta these days is the “female Lionel Messi,” which is a fair comparison. Her game shares the same beauty, an equivalent apparent ease, even when beating the odds.
A piece in the New York Times compares Marta to male star David Beckham, and rightly concludes Marta is the best soccer player currently playing for an American professional side. Marta plays for the Western New York Flash in Buffalo.
Marta is still in the prime of her game, look for excitement in Germany.
Birgit Prinz, Germany
With the most goals scored in World Cup competition at 14, the German star helped her team win the last two World Cups, and she is part of the reason they are favored to win again. Prinz played in every World Cup except the first in 1991, and has appeared in four Olympics so far.
Brigit Prinz announced she would be retiring after the 2011 World Cup. Certainly her country, and her fans around the world would like to see her retire a World Cup Champion for the third time.
Mia Hamm, USA
Arguably the best all-around player ever, Mia Hamm became a soccer institution in America, and helped the side to World Cup titles in 1991 and 1999. Hamm’s record 158 goals scored with the international team is best for men and women. She scored two goals in each of her three World Cup appearances, and was named MVP in 1995, where she also had a short stint as goalkeeper.
Sun Wen, China
The greatest player ever from China, Sun Wen never won a World Cup. The Chinese side saw it’s highest international achievement to that point at the 1996 Olympics, taking silver in Atlanta, losing to the U.S.A. In World Cup play, they also came up just short to the Americans, losing the final in 1999.
While she may not have seen her team win the big prize, her prowess in the game is undeniable. As proof to that, Sun Wen was voted in second place for Player of the Century, just ahead of Mia Hamm.
Michelle Akers, USA
The woman taking the top spot in Player of the Century voting was American standout Michelle Akers. She dominated the first World Cup ever in 1991. Akers scored 10 goals in the tournament, including five in one match and the only two from the American side in the final. She won the Golden Boot, and helped establish the American side in World Cup competition.