Three minutes of sheer madness from Nigeria's perspective handed South Africa 2 goals between 60 and 63 minutes before a late Nigeria consolation made it 2:1 in today's Wafcon group C encounter.
Seoposenwe and then Magaia got South Africa's two goals before Ajibade’s injury time finish pulled one back for Nigeria.
For me, the good thing about the outcome of this match was that Ajibade’s face saving consolation goal in 91 minutes made the scoreline more respectable.
Waldrum got his tactics all wrong today. His girls were languid and lethargic. His midfield lacked creativity and invention, his three-pronged attacking line up lacked anything resembling a cutting edge while his defence were in their sixes and sevens.
The American deployed a 4-3-3 formation that left his Falcons clueless.
The deployment of a slow Onumanu on the flanks baffled the mind. It was like the three attackers – Onumanu, Oshoala and Payne – were complete strangers to each other as they were all on different wavelengths. Oshoala was always a fraction away from connecting with telling passes.
Onumanu for all intents and purposes was anonymous while Payne was just toothless.
Ajibade for me pulled some impressive strings in midfield and tried to make her presence felt. But there was so much disconnect in the team’s play that her good works were just swept under the carpet .
Chikwelu and Ayinde were simply too perfunctory and rudimentary in their displays. They were easily outshined and overrun in by their South African midfield counterparts.
Plumptre was turned inside out and dislodged for the pass that led to the first goal. Apart from that, she was decent in the offensive and defensive aspects of her play.
Michelle Alozie is not a full back. She is not even a defensive midfielder. Playing an out to out striker as a full back went largely unpunished in qualifiers. But Nigeria’s defence was erratic and in total disarray for South Africa’s second goal.
For me, Onome Ebi was surprisingly brilliant. She made very many tackles and interceptions and also provided the assist for Nigeria’ goal. The back line needs to be rejigged but Ebi needs to remain. Ohale was a passenger today and the goalkeeper Oluehi wasn’t always convincing.
I still believe in Waldrum. I think this result will be a wake-up call for him to address the obvious loopholes in the team. I won’t be surprised if he reverts to the more cautious 5-3-2 for the remainder of the tournament regardless of the opposition.
The quality players are there and Randy has milked out acceptable and at times impressive level of performances from them in qualifiers and some friendly matches.
Hopefully the team can pick itself up from the ashes of this disappointment and live up to their tournament winning credentials as the tournament wears on.
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