Emma Jemegah, with report
Three-time CAF African Women’s Player of the Year, Asisat Oshoala is anticipating a slicker, more efficient Super Falcons outfit comes the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019.
While she’s getting into gear in the best possible way – joining Barcelona on loan from Chinese champions, Dalian Quanjian, Oshoala told FIFA.com that the national team was being put through its paces in the lead-up too, game-time she felt they sorely need.
“The team has not been together properly for about two years, which has made things more difficult because we hadn’t had many proper sessions, we were just together for about two weeks prior to the tournament and it was pretty difficult,” she explained to FIFA.com.
“Our goal at the start was to qualify for the World Cup but we ended up winning it in the end. This has given us a lot of confidence going into the World Cup, ahead of our friendly games and for the team to perform better.”
Long seen as an unstoppable force on the African women’s scene, Nigeria’s triumph in Ghana may have kept them on their throne, but it also signalled that their hold on crown might be loosening. “I think African teams are really getting better,” Oshoala assessed. “The last Cup of Nations was of real quality. Teams have buckled up, prepared hard, trained hard and it was pretty difficult.”
Having taken the reins last year, coach Thomas Dennerby will also have had the opportunity to put his stamp on the Super Falcons come kick-off in France. “It’s not been easy for him, not having us together for a while,” Oshoala admitted.
“Now he’s had the chance to take charge of us at a tournament, see what young players are ready to make the step up, I think he has enough time to get us ready.”
Being drawn with hosts France, Korea Republic and Norway sees Oshoala going with no expectations of a gentle introduction to proceedings. “I told my team-mates that no-one that’s qualified for the World Cup is a pushover. They’re among the champions of their own continents. It’s champions against champions. The group is open but it’s very high quality.”