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How Lack of Harmony and Cohesion Proved Costly For Waldrum Against South Africa

On social media and various Nigerian sports media platforms, the Super Falcons' slim 2:1 defeat to rivals South Africa in this week's opening group C WAFCON encounter is being described with adjectives like 'scandalous' and 'humiliating'.

To be honest, the defeat is neither of these things.

It is however something of an embarrassment to African women’s football over the years that only one team has dominated the landscape for as long as the Super Falcons have done.

Winning 11 trophies out of 13 in the women's Africa Cup of Nations is just insane. So I welcome far greater competition and less bothered about the Super Falcons losing games. In reality, they should ‘win some and lose some’.

2:1 loss to an emerging powerhouse in South Africa is nothing to be ashamed of. It is just like Argentina losing to Uruguay in men’s football, these things happen.

That said, the Super Falcons should really have taken something out of that match today but they were just flat.

Randy Waldrum paid the ultimate price for putting round pegs in square holes and expecting harmony. Harmony was sorely lacking in the Super Falcons’ display today.

The team had no natural fullbacks – Alozie and Plumptre aren’t fullbacks by trade which led to both of South Africa’s goals bypassing both of them before beating ultimately Oluehi .

The midfield was just empty and devoid of ideas. Nothing good could have come out of that Isreal. Chikwelu and Ayinde are clearly regressing while the exuberance of Ajibade is totally wasted in that midfield arrangement.

Then you have the terrible trio up front. Incidentally they are all fantastic strikers but their pairing and arrangement left them clutching at straws.

You had Onumanu who can never dribble herself out of a paper bag as a winger and Oshoala (who could have been better cutting in from the flanks) as the centre forward. Is it me or is Oshoala badly off pace? Then you have Payne, who admittedly is a decent winger, not always in sync with the movements of others around her.

The whole set up was a mess, like Lego assembled by a 4 year old.

As uninspiring as these players were today, all hope is still not lost. By placing players in optimum positions that will maximise their strengths, Waldrum might yet recover from this mishap.

The defence will always suffer without natural fullbacks; the midfield will forever be static with aging legs who have tired mental eyes while the attacking line up needs to be able to bark and bite. The entire team needs understanding and cohesion.

They have started slowly but they can definitely pick up the pace. The performances of players like Ajibade, Ebi, Plumptre and even Alozie (if she is slotted in sensible position) held much promise; promise of better outings to come.

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