Former stars of the Super Falcons have rated the team’s chances of putting up a fine outing at the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

Nigeria are paired in Group B alongside Olympic champions Canada, co-hosts Australia and the Republic of Ireland and face a tough challenge advancing from the group phase.

Randy Waldrum’s side begin their World Cup campaign against Canada July 21.

Former Super Falcons star and Olympic gold medalist, Chioma Ajunwa, said the rift between the players and the Nigeria Football Federation, after the squad members were told their match bonuses had been cancelled, could have an adverse effect on their performances in Australia.

“What is going on with the NFF can demoralise the team, and the players may not be able to concentrate or give their best at the competition,” Ajunwa, a member of Falcons squad to the inaugural Women’s World Cup in 1991, told Sunday PUNCH.

“Ordinarily, they (players) are supposed to get some rewards, and now, that it’s been taken away, I don’t think we should expect them to put in their best, they might be playing with grudges, which is not good at all.”

Stella Mbachu, a member of the Falcons squad to four World Cup tournaments (1999-2011), is, however positive about the Falcons chances.

“I’m optimistic they can go far, but that’s if they put their act together. They need to forget their match bonuses for now. I know it’s important because it motivates you to do more, but if they perform well, they will be paid the money.

“They need to concentrate and showcase the stuff they are made of because many of them will have offers after the tournament, big clubs will come for them.

“So, they need to be united and get the job done, irrespective of match bonuses or not.”

Another former Falcons player and assistant coach Maureen Madu believes if the Falcons can overcome Canada in their opener on Friday, they stand a great chance of advancing from their group.

“If we win our first game, I think we will have a better chance because in every competition, the first match is the most important game, because if we win it, we will have that confidence, knowing that you have gotten three points, and now wait to see what your opponents come up with,” she stated.

“I know that it is a very tough group, but anything can happen. Everyone came to win, and our girls should also be motivated; they have to go there with the mindset of winning. This is the first World Cup for some of them, so they should go there and do their job very well.”



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