Nigeria coach Randy Waldrum has refused to press the panic button after the Super Falcons started their 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a 2-1 defeat against South Africa in Morocco on Monday.
After a 0-0 result in the first half, the Super Falcons found themselves trailing in the 61st minute when Jermaine Seoposenwe put Banyana ahead.
Before Nigeria could reorganise, Banyana doubled their lead two minutes later through Hildah Magaia, who slotted the ball past Nigeria custodian Tochukwu Oluehi. Rasheedat Ajibade pulled a goal back for the Super Falcons in stoppage time but it was too late to recover as Banyana held on to win the Group C opener at Stade Moulay Hassan.
Despite the losing start, the 65-year-old Super Falcons coach believes they still have time to put things right and assured Nigerians they can still retain the title.
“We can’t panic at this period; we know what’s at stake, we still have two group games and we have to improve,” Waldrum told reporters after the game, adding: “In spite of the loss, we are still positive in camp.
“It is obviously the first game of the tournament so we have to go back and regroup.”
Waldrum, who is a former American football player, also hinted at making changes in their subsequent matches in the competition.
“We will analyse and review individual players’ performance and make the right decisions in the next games,” Waldrum continued.
He, however, admitted he was surprised by the way his charges played against Banyana but pointed out the last 10 to 15 minutes as the time they produced a better game.
“We have to increase our urgency in the fighting spirit because we are encouraged by it. We have to play the way we played in the last 10-15 minutes so that we get going,” added Waldrum.
“I was surprised with our performance in the attack. We got a late goal and we tried to get back in the game, we are still positive. I am looking forward to how we can improve, we will look at the areas we were exposed and we will make those corrections.”
Nigeria will next face Botswana, who beat Burundi 4-2 in their opener, at Moulay Hassan FUS on Thursday.