FC Barcelona Femení’s Asisat Oshoala has said Super Falcons coach Thomas Dennerby’s experience at the world cup will be crucial to Nigeria when the FIFA Women’s World Cup, France 2019 kicks off in June.
Concise News reports that Dennerby managed the Sweden women’s national football team from 2005 to 2012.
During that period, he steered The Blueyellow at two world cups (2007 and 2011). At the sixth edition of the tournament in Germany, Dennerby led Sweden to a third-place finish.
Having taken the reins last year, coach Thomas Dennerby will also have had the opportunity to put his stamp on the Super Falcons come kick-off in France. “It’s not been easy for him, not having us together for a while,” Oshoala admits.
“The team has not been together properly for about two years, which has made things more difficult because we hadn’t had many proper sessions, we were just together for about two weeks prior to the tournament and it was pretty difficult,” Oshoala explains to FIFA.com.
“Our goal at the start was to qualify for the World Cup but we ended up winning it in the end. This has given us a lot of confidence going into the World Cup, ahead of our friendly games and for the team to perform better.”
‘African opponents are now formidable’
“I think African teams are really getting better,” Oshoala, a three-time African player of the year assesses. “The last Cup of Nations was of real quality. Teams have buckled up, prepared hard, trained hard and it was pretty difficult.”
South Africa’s Bayana Bayana seems to be edging ever closer to Nigeria in terms of quality. Oshoala explains “we’d pretty much beat every time” having won nine of their ten meetings in the continental finals, received much of the post-tournament plaudits. Nigeria, meanwhile, had to fall back on grit and steel to leave victorious.
It’s a state of affairs that the two-time Chinese league title winner is extracting the positives from as she gets ready to gear up for her second bow on women’s football’s biggest stage. “I feel like that showed how much we are able to give. Just imagine the team we could have with all the right preparation.”
And that in itself is quite the proposition, being that they have two of Africa’s top three players in their ranks. Oshoala and Francisca Ordega – both of whom burst onto the World Cup scene at Canada 2015 – finished second and third behind South Africa’s Thembi Kgatlana for the title of the continent’s top player.
Giving further assurance on Dennerby, Oshoala says, “Now he’s had the chance to take charge of us at a tournament, see what young players are ready to make the step up, I think he has enough time to get us ready.”
With a bronze medal already resting on his mantelpiece, having led his native Sweden to the podium in 2011, Dennerby’s know-how is seen as invaluable by the team’s star forward. “He has World Cup experience, he’s taken charge of plenty of big teams and tactically he knows the game at the top level – and the World Cup is the very best.”
‘Falcons’ World Cup group is open’
Being drawn with hosts France, Korea Republic and Norway sees the former Arsenal Ladies and Liverpool attacker going with no expectations of a gentle introduction to proceedings. “I told my team-mates that no-one that’s qualified for the World Cup is a pushover. They’re among the champions of their own continents. It’s champions against champions. The group is open but it’s very high quality.”
Having been outside the field of view for plenty of fans while in China, her goalscoring and trophy-winning exploits may have gone under the radar for many. Under the tutelage for former Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain coach Farid Benstiti, ‘Superzee’ as she is fondly called has hit 23 goals across two keenly contested title wins.
— ASISAT M.O.N (@AsisatOshoala) February 11, 2019
Now back to Europe, she will be hoping to only enhance that eye for goal in Spain’s Liga Femenina and the upcoming Cyprus Cup, so she can hit the ground running just like she did against Sweden four years ago. She is already impressing in Blaugrana, with three goals in two appearances to her name.
Have a story to tell, or images to share on interesting Nigeria news? Send them to Concise News via Whatsapp (0906 928 2577)
Tired of generators? Get PRAG INVERTER, Nigeria's No.1 Inverters Be the first to know...Get daily round up of top Nigerian newspaper headlines. Click here. Tired of estimated bills/generator noise? Go off the grid...get PRAG SOLAR for 24/7 noiseless and uninterrupted power supply.