Earlier this month, the Nigerian Football Association announced that the American Randy Waldrum, formerly of NCAL Houston Dash, is the new head coach of the women’s national team.
The announcement came almost a year after former coach Thomas Dennerby resigned in October.
After a year without a coach and a game, Super Falconov striker Francis Ordega told ESPN that the news of the appointment was greeted with relief.
I’m happy, very happy, she says. It’s not good for the team to be without a coach for a year.
It was a very long time for us. It’s not good for the senior national team to be without a coach for a year. That’s not good at all.
It wasn’t the first time the Super Falcons had been without a coach for a long time. Prior to Dennerby’s appointment, former captain Florence Omagbemi led the team to the African title in 2016, but her contract was not renewed and the team remained without a coach until 2018, when the Swede was appointed.
In fact, the appointment of Waldrum was now one of the reasons for this long break. The then coach of Trinidad and Tobago was willing to work in Nigeria and was even summoned by the NFF on condition that he would sign the contract.
But he gave up that position and took the position he now has at the University of Pittsburgh.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Randy Waldram comes to Nigeria as a former coach of Trinidad and Tobago, Houston Dash and the University of Pittsburgh. Mitchell Leff/Getty Pictures
Ordega says the team has already prepared for his arrival: I remember it was finished two or three years ago. I don’t know what happened, but I talked to him when I was in America [with the ghost of Washington], and he told me he was coming to Nigeria.
And he even hired a guy from Benue State who told me he was going to coach our team.
But suddenly we didn’t know anything anymore. We even have fitness and everything else planned. We were in a group, but suddenly we heard that he had escaped.
It’s all water under the bridge now. This time the 64-year-old accepted the position, but caused some confusion when he proposed in his first social media statement to combine the position with his current position in Pittsburgh.
The chairman of the NFF, Amayu Pinnik, responded quickly to this idea by informing ESPN: No, you can’t. He’s going to work full-time with Nigeria.
It’s the highest national team in Nigeria, and we didn’t mention it on an hourly basis.
Later, Waldram went back on his statement and said Goal: I want everyone to know that I’m really excited to be your coach at the Super Falcons.
It was an old dream of mine. I appreciate Mr. [Amazhu] Pinnick and his belief that our staff and I will take the Super Falcons to new heights.
I also understand the impact of my time on training camps, matches, scouting, player management, staff development and of course team development.
These expectations are very clear, and I can’t wait to get started. In fact, I’m the one who will push the association to offer more training and preparation opportunities, I’m sure of that.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Ordega played four seasons for the Washington Spirit and saw his team play a championship game in 2016 with an extra goal in the semifinals. Nick Tre. Sports Wire Smith/Icons through Getty Images
Ordega has experience playing against Waldrum since she played with Spirit in the National Women’s Football League. Vadram was Dash’s coach at the time.
The attacker added: I’ve played it a few times. It has always been difficult for us to play against this team. So I think he’s a really good choice for [Nigeria].
It wasn’t easy for them to beat us, even though he’s a good coach, because if you don’t have the players you want or expect, it’s hard to beat a great or better team and we have the best players.
But now, with the Super Falcons, Ordega expects more from the coach. Not only because of his personal qualities, but also because of the experience he brings as a trainer from the United States.
she says: You know, America has one of the best women’s soccer teams in the world. The reason for this is that they take your weaknesses and work on them so that you can improve.
For example, when I went there for the first time, I had no stamina, but they saw that my weakness and my work on me and my stamina had improved.
Their professionalism is on a different level. I think he’ll bring it. The American way of thinking is very different from ours, when it comes to football they are very smart, they make quick decisions.
I’m not even ashamed to tell this story. When I first went to America, it was always hard for me because when the coach tries to explain things, the other girls pick them up quickly because they came straight from college, but I’m not used to that.
It was difficult for me to intervene, but I managed to do so over time. I think it will introduce the idea of giving us the ability to think quickly, not only during the game, but also off the field, we have to think very, very quickly, we have to be smarter.
That would be very useful, because I think that’s where our failures lie. We’re strong, but we don’t know when to use that power. So I think he’s coming to the right place to tell us when to use it, when to use our heads and when to use force.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Janine van Wyck played two seasons for Houston Dash and was recruited in 2016 by Randy Waldrum. Quinn Harris/Sportswire icon via Getty Images
Janine van Wyck, a former South African captain, played with Waldrum against Houston Dash and says she will bring out the best in her players.
He’s a great guy, she told ESPN. He takes his players seriously and has a good idea of the game. I wish him good luck in his new job in Nigeria.
The players he will work with are fantastic football players, so he will always make the best of it.
The Super Falcons – under a provisional coach – could not qualify for the Olympics, and now they only have the African Cup of Nations for women and the World Cup.
But Waldrum thinks ahead: I am already working and I have a ten-year plan that I would like to share with the club to prepare our young players for the coming years as national players.
Our stars of the World Championships 2027 and 2031 are currently between 10 and 12 years old, so we have to put them in the right environment now.
Ambitious plans maybe, but that’s exactly what the Super Falcons want.