- Nigeria lose in another friendly
- Super Falcons struggle in front of goal
- Pressure set to pile on Waldrum
WHAT HAPPENED? Nigeria conceded two second-half goals in their high-profile friendly match against the former World Cup champions.
Mina Tanaka opened the scoring four minutes past the hour mark before Japan extended their lead from the spot when Tanaka converted a penalty four minutes later.
The Super Falcons saw three of their players yellow-carded; Christy Ucheibe was the first one to be cautioned in the 23rd minute before Vivian Ikechukwu - who replaced her in the 39th minute – was also cautioned a minute before the half-time break, while Osinachi Ohale received her card in the 67th minute.
On Japan’s side, Hikaru Naomoto – who provided the assist for the opening goal – was yellow carded in the third minute of the first half of added time.
Further changes for the African side involved Peace Efih coming on for Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene in the 59th minute before Flourish Chioma replaced Uchena Kanu and Amanda Mbadi came on for Ikechukwu in a double substitution made in the 81st minute.
Victoria Alani and Esther Onyenezide were involved for a few minutes when they were thrown into the action in the additional minutes, replacing Glory Ogbonna and Deborah Abiodun, respectively.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: This is the third straight friendly match Nigeria have lost since they went down twice to the United States of America in September.
They have now conceded eight goals in the friendlies and scored only once, and this prompts questions as to their readiness for the upcoming Fifa Women’s World Cup.
Although they have continuously missed their dependable goal machine, Asisat Oshoala – who was ruled out for the better part of the Women's Africa Cup of Nations due to an injury – her absence will not take away the negative spotlight they are set to attract as the poor run continues.
Despite being the pre-Wafcon favourities, the nine-time African champions finished fourth after a loss to Zambia in the third-place playoffs.
ALL EYES ON: Waldrum’s tenure is set to be criticized more as Nigeria continue to struggle in 2022. The latest defeat at the hands of the 2011 World Champions will raise questions as to whether the American tactician can capably lead the Falcons forward in the Australia-New Zealand finals next year.
WHAT NEXT FOR NIGERIA: Currently, there are no planned upcoming friendlies for Nigeria who missed Oshoala after she did not link up with her teammates ahead of the Japan friendly, although she had been called up.