Mabo knocks Waldrum over World Cup target

Former Super Falcons coach, Ismaila Mabo, has urged the women’s national team to set a higher target at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, rather than just qualifying from their group, The PUNCH reports.

Mabo’s statement comes after Falcons head coach Randy Waldrum stated that the team’s primary objective at the forthcoming 2023 Women’s World Cup was to advance from the group stage of the competition.

The biggest women’s football tournament has been scheduled to hold in Australia and New Zealand in the summer.

The Falcons were disappointing at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco last year as they failed to successfully defend their title, while also unable to finish on the podium for the second time ever in the competition, after losing 1-0 to Zambia in the third-place match to end up in fourth place.

The Falcons are paired in Group B alongside Olympic champions Canada, co-hosts Australia and the Republic of Ireland and face a tough task of making it out of the group phase.

While Waldrum has said the objective is to make it out of the group stage to the knockout phase, Mabo is insisting that getting to the final of the tournament should be the least of their expectations.

“Getting to the knockout stage shouldn’t be the major target because that is not a new thing to the country,” he told The PUNCH.

“The target should be the semi-final and the final and that should be Waldrum’s target as well and not just thinking of making it out of the group stage.

“We cannot be thinking like we did in the past because during my time and that of Paul Hamilton (as coaches), we could tell from our preparations that we would be able to reach the quarter-final. So, it will be unacceptable for someone to tell the president of the federation and the country that he will take the team to the knockout phase because that is not our problem as far as women’s football is concerned.

“We want to go beyond that and get to the semi-final and final and win the tournament.”

The Falcons will be domiciled in Brisbane, where they will play two of their three matches, with the other game in another Australian city, Melbourne.

Nigeria is in the elite group of only seven countries that have never failed to qualify for the Women’s World Cup since the competition started in China 32 years ago.

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