The FIFA Women’s World Cup may have come and gone but the excitements will never be immediately forgotten.
In fact, the 2019 edition held in France is considered the most successful of all the eight editions held since it’s the first edition.
From the followership of the game to the on-field display; tactical and technical style of play from majority of the teams on display, it showed the game from the female perspective has grown in leaps and bounds.
Despite the controversial display by majority of the referees albeit in relation to the use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), the competition shone with record numbers recorded from viewership on television and crowd turnout at match centres with one Million, one hundred and thirty one thousand three hundred and two fans in attendance across all the games.
Although several male competitions were held in between June and July, with the African Cup of Nations, Copa America and CONCACAF Gold Cup all also played during that period of time.
Football fans followed the games in France with rapt attention. Almost every game gave excitement, drama and there was no shortage of goals either, 146 goals in 52 matches an average of 2.81 per match.
The numbers showed that teams are developing, competition becoming stiffer and though the United States of America may have clinched their fourth title in history with a comfortable 2-0 win over the Netherlands, it’s not to say the level of competition was low in the tournament.
Megan Rapinoe and her Stars & Stripes team were the headlines of the tourney but the Dutch women were the models of the development in the women’s game.
The Oranje ladies came into the competition as European Champions, a feat they achieved in the 2017 Uefa Women’s Championships but with countries like Japan, England hosts France and other top female footballing countries not many expected the team which was making just its second appearance at the World Cup to reach the finals with Vivianne Miedema and Lieke Martens propelling the Europeans.
Despite this developments, it’s unfortunate that African teams find it difficult to progress to the latter stages of the competition.
In fact, the gap of quality between top female football teams and African teams is still as wide as used to be. it’s quite inexplicable that perennial African champions, Nigeria lost to France by 8 goals as recent as 2018 while South Africa even though regarded as a fast-rising country in female team lost by 7 goals in a friendly to Norway just before the World Cup.
While big margin scorelines can be a one-off thing and the African teams cannot be mentioned in the same line with Thailand who conceded 13 against the Champions.
All African teams will wish to have at least one FIFA Women’s World Cup final appearance like Netherlands who has just two appearances in the World Cup and an Olympic medal like Japan has, the Nadeshiko played in two of the last three FIFA Women’s World Cup final winning one.
The big question now is why are Nigeria and other African teams stagnant in the development of the women’s game?
A lot of complex but interwoven factors contribute to this, the biggest of which is poor administration.
African football federations poorly manage the male team, oftentimes there are cases of corruption, none payment of bonuses and lack of preparation towards tournaments.
This is also the same with female teams albeit it’s worse with little to nothing done to fulfil promises made.
Another perspective to administration is the lack of proper and functional female football leagues, the structure of female football competition, and the exposure in Africa is nothing to write home.
While across Europe, female teams have their own leagues and have the female version of the Uefa Champions League while majority of African countries do not even have a Women’s League.
Nigeria, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and South Africa have represented Africa on the World scene, only Nigeria has a league which is even run in an inconsistent manner while South Africa are just on the verge of kick-starting its own female league, the less said about the rest the better.
Thembi Kgatlana, Asisat Oshoala, Francesca Ordega, Gaelle Enganamouit, Ajara Nchout are the big names in African female football, they follow the trail blazed by Perpetual Nkwocha, Mercy Akide, Stella Mbachu and others.
These names are a testament to the immense talent that abounds in African teams. Perhaps the society needs to change its outlook towards female football and footballers, many parents would frown at the idea of their female children taking a career in sports nevertheless football.
Asisat Oshoala and Francisca Ordega have previously mentioned how their parents tried to to stop them from playing the game in the past.
From the Nigerian perspective, it’s a shame that the Super falcons, despite having 8 World Cup appearances just like USA, Japan, Norway, Brazil, Sweden and Germany, are the only team of all 7, not to have featured at the semi-finals of the World Cup.
A model team looked up too by others have become ordinary and average, living on past glories and if care is not taken the next big step into the next realm of female football would not be taken while other are sprinting far beyond reach.
While having a consistent league is not a guarantee to a World Cup trophy but at least the quality and competition on a better pedestal will help unearth potential stars.
Administrators should do better to organize and create publicity for the women teams.
Proper arrangements and plans should be done for them before their various tournament. But for now, African countries have not done enough in terms of female football.
FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™
Council assigns FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosting decision to the football governing body’s Congress; also approves financial statements for 2020 and budget for 2022.
Meeting by video conference, the Council conferred to the Congress the decision to award Women’s World Cup™ hosting rights.
Until now, the decision has been taken by the FIFA Council, most recently in June 2020 when the hosting rights for the 2023 edition were awarded to Australia and New Zealand.
As the football governing body seeks to raise the profile of the women’s game, this represents a significant step to bring the Women’s World Cup in line with the flagship men’s competition.
The proposal will be put forward for a final decision by the 71st FIFA Congress, which will meet virtually (for the second time) on 21 May.
International match calendar and release of players.
The FIFA Council received a report on the international football situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bureau of the Council had extended to April 2021 the temporary amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players regarding the release of players for international duty, and FIFA, the confederations, and its member associations remain in dialogue with national authorities about exemptions from quarantine rules for national team players.
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The FIFA Council recognized that the highest priority in football is the health of the players, and therefore the discussion around the release of players for international duty must maintain this perspective, especially as the public health situation develops around the world.
2020 financials and 2022 budget
The Council also approved the organization’s Annual Report, which contains the financial statements for 2020 and the budget for 2022.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 focuses on the role played by world football’s governing body in the fight against COVID-19, primarily through the unprecedented COVID-19 Relief Plan, which has made available USD 1.5 billion to support FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations through times of financial uncertainty.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 is available on the official site.
FIFA Arab Cup 2021™
The Council approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, confirming the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition taking place in Qatar from 1 to 18 December this year.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency
Ever wondered why Genk forward Paul Onuachu has always been a prolific figure for his club and find it hard to replicate that form with the Super Eagles when invited?
The Nigeria international has been in awesome form for the Blue-White, scoring 26 goals in the Jupiler League this season for Genk, while his scoring prowess at his club has been a contrast to his form with the national team under Gernot Rohr scoring just once in 9 games despite being a top performer at club level.
Ahead of the AFCON qualifier doubleheader against Lesotho and the Benin Republic, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr named his 23 man list with the inform former Midtjylland forward listed as one of the standby players.
Onuachu’s struggles with the Super Eagles in previous games he featured is quite baffling, considering the excitement that greeted his first appearance with the national team plus the impressive form he’s currently in.
The job of every manager is to find a suitable position or fashion out tactics that would be suitable for their players in other to blend with the team approaches to every match. In Onuachu’s case, he hasn’t been fortunate enough to blend in with Rohr’s tactics. While at club level, Midtjylland plays to his strength.
However, due to Napoli’s players been restricted from traveling, the Genk forward made it through the backdoor to replace Gernot Rohr’s number one forward Victor Osimhen who hasn’t really hit the ground running with the ‘Partenopei‘, but when with the Eagles, he never fails to deliver.
It’s no doubt that the lanky striker has failed to deliver in his previous games, disappointing the ever-demanding Nigerian football enthusiasts with unforgiving backlashes from the fans. However, his prolific prowess with his club suggests otherwise and consistently makes a case for him to be integrated into the team with a different tactical approach that suits his style.
The era of a target man may have been long gone in football due to the advent of new tactics that have brought about a series of changes in the game. With managers preferring to go with a fast, skillful, or makeshift winger- kind of striker, instead of a target man.
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Looking at how Paul Onuachu plays with Genk upfront shows he’s one of the best target men in football, despite been perceived by many as a slow and old-fashioned kind of forward. However, John van den Bromm has been able to carve out a tactic that suits him which has been evident with his prolific form irrespective of his style of play.
Onuachu’s Super Eagle future might be on the knife-edge with Gernot Rohr not finding the right tactics that suit the Genk forward, especially with him not been consider as the go-to man despite his blistering runs of form in Belgium.
In recent times Rohr’s philosophy of vibrant attacking football with an emphasis on passing in the final third which requires the expertise of brilliant players to implement such tactics hasn’t really favored him.
Having a player in the mold of Onuachu gives Rohr another tactical option and an alternative style of play should the initial approach fails to work as expected, but the German tactician hasn’t really taken advantage of what the man could offer with a different opponent.
Onuachu’s presence in the Super Eagles team should be an added advantage in terms of variety when the normal approach of the manager fails. With an in-form striker on the bench, it could prove valuable, but in the former Midtjylland’s case, Gernot Rohr doesn’t seem to see him as a player that has a future with the national team.
Players in the mold of the Nigerian are quite physically imposing as the point man, though they may not offer the team excellent off-the-ball movement in some cases. However, they often find a way to provide an opportunity which the team could utilize when attacking or defending.
Onuachu’s inability to show a good turn of pace and smart footwork may have been one of the deficiencies that are affecting his chances of blending perfectly into the team.
However, the job of a manager is to help players blend in perfectly, and that’s exactly what Gernot Rohr should be doing. Not only for Onuachu but for every other player who are always finding it hard to replicate club form with the National Team.