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Paris 2024 Qualifiers: Randy Waldrum aims to end Falcons 16-year Olympic ticket wait



By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde

Randy Waldrum, the head coach of the Nigeria women’s national side believes the current set of players has the potential to break this long-standing jinx and compete with the best teams in the world at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Since the Beijing 2008 Olympics, the Super Falcons, have been absent from the women’s football event at the Olympics.

With just three appearances in the Olympics so far, the Super Falcons are now just two games away from ending their 16-year wait to return to the Olympics.

However, standing in their path in the fourth and final round of qualifiers are the African champions, South Africa.

Waldrum expressed this belief ahead of the crucial doubleheader against South Africa, stating, “I think this is the time. Countries have generational teams. I think this team in particular is a generational team.”

He continued, “I don’t disrespect any other national teams. The talent that we have in this particular team and even the depth we have coming into the team. We saw in Australia what we were able to accomplish with the best teams around the world. I think this team can compete to be a major player on the world stage.”

Despite the Super Falcons’ struggles to secure wins against South Africa in recent encounters, Waldrum acknowledges the quality of the South African side, saying, “My thoughts about South Africa is that they have got a very good side.”

He added, “Obviously they are the defending African champions. We have to have respect for them and the individual talents that they have. They are very dangerous and their coach has done a very good job in making them organized.”

Despite the absence of key players like Ashleigh Plumptre and Tosin Demehin due to injuries, Waldrum remains optimistic about his team’s chances. He stated, “Like I have said before and at the World Cup, I really liked our team. I have a lot of confidence in our players that we will perform really well.”

Regarding the missing players, Waldrum expressed, “First of all our thoughts are with the two players [Ashleigh Plumptre and Tosin Demehin]. They are vital and important players to us. They are two mainstays in our defense. It is a big loss.”

While acknowledging the importance of the missing players, Waldrum emphasized the need for a contingency plan and expressed confidence in the depth of his squad. He believes that the players are aware of the task ahead and emphasized the importance of tactical preparation to give the team the best chance of success.

He concluded, “I know they know what is at stake and understands the job that is in front of them. I don’t think it is going to take a lot of motivation. I think the biggest thing is that the coaching staff try to make them understand the game tactics that we will bring in to the team so we can have the best opportunity to succeed.”