By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde
Sports Writer, kick442.com Nigeria
The 1991 inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup was a tournament to forget for Super Falcons of Nigeria as it wasn’t a wonderful tourney for the emerging force in Africa’s women football.
The 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup was the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup, the world championship for women’s national association football teams. It took place in Guangdong , China from 16 to 30 November 1991. FIFA, football’s international governing body selected China as host nation as Guangdong had hosted a prototype world championship three years earlier, the 1988 FIFA Women’s Invitation Tournament . Matches were played in the state capital, Guangzhou, as well as in Foshan,Jiangmen and Zhongshan .
The competition was sponsored by Mars, Incorporated, maker of M&M’s candy. With FIFA still reluctant to bestow their “World Cup” brand, the tournament was officially known as the 1st FIFA World Championship for Women’s Football for the M&M’s Cup.
Super Falcons was drawn in Group C alongside Germany, Italy and Chinese Taipei in their debut tournament under the tutelage of Technical Adviser Johanese Bonfere (Bonfere Jo) and Head Coach, Paul Hamilton.
Germany 4-0 Nigeria
It was a cold welcome for Nigeria at their first World Cup match with a comprehensive 0-4 defeat in the hands of Germany at Jiangmen Stadium on November 17, 1991. Neid scored the first goal for Germany in the 16th minute before a brace from Mohr in the 32nd and 34th minute put the game beyond the reach of Super Falcons. Gottschlich’s goal in the second half of the match completed the rout.
17 November 1991
Germany 4–0 Nigeria
Jiangmen Stadium ,Jiangmen
Referee: Rafael Rodríguez Medina ( El Salvador)
Nigeria 0-1 Italy
Super Falcons suffered another defeat in their second world cup match against Italy albeit a slim 1-0 loss. Morace 68th minute strike was enough to seal victory for the Italian side at Zhongshan Stadium.
19 November 1991
Italy 1–0 Nigeria
Zhongshan Stadium, Zhongshan
Referee: Jim McCluskey (Scotland)
Nigeria 0-2 Chinese Taipei
Nigeria bowed out of their inaugural world cup appearance with another defeat, this time to Asian side, Chinese Taipei. Chinese Taipei scored their opening goal courtesy Lin Mei-chun in the 38th minute followed by another strike by Chou Tai-ying in the 55th minute.
21 November 1991
Chinese Taipei 2–0 Nigeria
Jiangmen Stadium , Jiangmen
Referee: Rafael Rodríguez Medina ( El Salvador)
Super Falcons finished bottom of Group C and successfully crashed out of the tournament which was eventually won by United States of America (USA).
Super Falcons of Nigeria’s Full Squad to China 1991 Inaugural FIFA Women’s World Championship with Coach Comments
(Courtesy: Mumini Alao, Complete Football, 1991)
Florence Omagbemi: Delta State. Skipper and midfielder. Secondary School Student. Born February 2, 1975. Nickname: Keshi. Club: Ufuoma Babes, Warri. Hero: Diego Maradona.
Coach’s comment: Lithe, but skilful and very imaginative. Creative midfielder with vision. A good passer of the ball. Team’s penalty taker and big inspiration. But poor tackler who forgets herself easily.
Uche Ngozi Eucharia: Imo State. Striker. National Certificate of Education (NCE) holder. Born June 18, 1973. Nickname: Abacha. Club: Ufuoma Babes. Hero: Phillip Osondu.
Coach’s comment: Good striker with great speed and a big shot. Very strong on the ball, but weak at trugling for possession. Team’s top scorer during the prelims. Has eye for goal.
Okunwa Gift Igunbor: Edo State. Striker. School Certificate holder. Born May 24, 1974. Nickname: Italian Pencil. Club: Kakanfo Queens, Abeokuta. Hero: Gary Lineker.
Coach’s comment: towering striker with striding legs and great pace. An unpredictable scorer who can confuse and tire opposing defences. Makes up for suspect skill Brawn and bravery.
Anna Oyekewa Agumanu: Imo State. Goal keeper. School Certificate holder. Born February 14, 1974. Nickname: Badou Zaki. Club: Golden Star, Lagos. Hero: Oladimeji Lawal.
Coach’s comment: A bold and agile girl with a good sense of anticipation. Covers her goal area well and inspire her teammates. But she kicks the ball high, instead of far, and loses concentration easily.
Mavis Miebaikebi Ogun: Rivers State. Defender. School Certificate holder. Born August 24, 1973. Nickname: Glancer. Club: Ufuoma Babes. Hero: Pele.
Coach’s comment: a strong defender and regular goal-kick taker. Quick, timely and hard on the tackle. Team’s free-kick specialist because of her cunning but hot shots, bad thing: she tires out too quickly.
Love Omon Branch: Abia State. Defender. School Certificate holder. Born October 1, 1974. Nickname: Bruno Conti. Club: Ufuoma Babes, Hero: Henry Nwosu.
Coach’s comment: A reliable member of the defence. Tackles strongly, heads well and kicks the ball hard and far from goal kicks, Poor imagination and low skills, however, means she contributes little to the team’s offensive play.
Sarah Okotie-Eboh: Delta State. Attacker. Secondary School Student. Born June 2, 1975. Club: Ufuoma Babes.
Coach’s comment: A stylish player. Fast on the right flank and very skillful on the ball. But lacks the strength to play full time. Rather lazy, but she’s brilliant.
Francisca Adiawoomi Williams: Cross River State. Midfielder. School Certificate holder. Born December 2, 1972. Nickname: Willie Dunga. Club: Kakanfo Queens. Hero: Dimeji Lawal.
Coach’s comment: Franca is a sound girl in the midfield. On her good day, she could frustrate the opponents. In all of the game, intercepting pass and killing their every move. She works for the team, but her weakness is poor recovery after an attack.
Rachael Abrubame Yamala: Delta State. Attacker, Secondary School student. Born February 12, 1975. Nickname: Rachy Scatter. Club: Kakanfo Queens. Hero: Sam Okwaraji.
Coach’s comment: The best dribbler in the team. a skillful left winger, adept in feints and manoeuvres with the ball. Bad news for defenders any day although she can be childish when it matters most. Gets frustrated easily.
Esther Diana: Imo state. Defender. Certificate in Sewing & Catering. Born October 10, 1973. Nickname: Esther Lee. Club: Kakanfo Queens. Hero: Stephen Keshi.
Coach’s comment: A solid right full-back. Tackles sure and hard. Good header of the ball. But she rarely joins the attack and when she does, her pull-outs are poor. More at home in the defence.
Ann Igho Mukoro: Delta State. Midfielder. First School Leaving Certificate. Born may 20, 1975. Nickname: Siasia. Club: Ufuoma Babes. Hero: Careca.
Coach’s comment: Another very skillful player in the side. Tricky, cunning and slippery in the midfield, but over-indulges in dribbling. Yet, she lacks adequate strength.
Edith Uzoamaka Eluma: Imo State. Defender. National Certificate of Education (NCE) holder. Club: Jegede babes, Lagos. Hero: Stephen Keshi.
Coach’s comment: A stubborn full-back, keeps going at stopping the opponent until she succeeds. The true black-woman! But poor at joining the attack or taking good crosses.
Chioma Ajunwa: Imo State, Defender. School Certificate holder. Born December 25, 1971. Nickname: Chimmy Brown. Club: Rivers Mermaids, Port-Harcourt. Hero: Stephen Keshi.
Coach’s comment: Multi-talented and flexible. Very fit and reliable. Aggressive on and off the ball, but lacks enough cunning to outwit the opponent. Tackles roughly even though, thoroughly.
Rita Nwa-Dike: Imo State. Striker. School Certificate holder. Born July 27, 1973. Club: Rivers Mermaids.
Coach’s comment: A good striker and a great tormentor of defenses. Tireless and ambitious in front of the goal but poor at retrieving the ball when she loses it.
Luisa Uzoamaka Akpagu: Anambra State. Attacker. General certificate of Education, Lagos. Born December 22, 1973. Nickname: Kala Prieto. Club: Kakanfo Queens. Hero: Sam Okwaraji.
Coach’s comment: Here’s ‘Carl Lewis!’ Louisa’s very fast for her physique and could run an entire defence down from her right flank on her good day. Big minus is poor ball control, but once she straps the ball, she churns out good crosses.
Elizabeth Chikawhuagwu: Imo State. Goal-keeper. School Certificate holder. Born February 22, 1973. Nickname: Lizzy Black. Club: Kakanfo Queens. Hero: Cassey Keller of U.S.A.
Coach’s comment: Team’s third goal-keeper. Rarely tested in big match situations, but major weakness lies in stopping ground ball.
Nkiru Doris Okosieme: Anambra State. Striker. BSc. Bio-chemistry. Born March 1, 1972. Club: Eagles Babes, Imo. Hero: Ndubuisi Okosieme.
Coach’s comment: Perhaps the most intelligent player in the team. The “Engine Room” of the midfield. Mobile, skilful, reliable and has a good shot. Scores vital goals and plays the ‘woman-maker’ role well. Her weakness is not falling back quickly enough to help her defence.
Lydia Akpoueghon Koyonda: Delta State. Goal-keeper. School Certificate holder. Born May 29, 1974. Club: Ufuoma Babes.
Coach’s Comment: Call her “The cat”. Lydia’s smart and agile and dives well to hold or parry goal-bound shots. Height is, however, her disadvantage. She’s only 1.72 metres tall, but you can’t wave off her other qualities.
Phoebet Oboukebena Ebiamienkumo: Delta State. Midfielder. School Certificate holder. Born January 17, 1974. Nickname: Rugged Oliha. Club Ufuoma Babes. Hero: Thompson Oliha.
Coach’s comment: Very strong defender, hard, very hard and with a big heart. Heads the ball fairly well but she’s rather low on the skill side. Makes up for that with toughness.
Ngozi Philomina Ezeocha: Imo State. Defender. School Certificate holder. Born December 10, 1973. Nickname: Bright Omakaro. Club: Jegede Babes. Hero: Pele
Coach’s comment: A left full-back with a big heart. Hard tackling, fearless and tireless. Over laps well to launch attacks and score the odd goals. But her recovery consciousness is poor.
Adaku Nnenne Okafor: Imo State, Striker. Secondary School student. Born November 18,1974. Club: Onyekachi Angels, Lagos. Hero: Christian Chukwu.
Coach’s comment: A skilful striker, no doubt. Very sharp and scores good goals. Weakness is inability to fight for possession.
Nkechi Mbilitam: Imo State. Striker. School Certificate holder. Born May 1974. Nickname: Iroko. Club: Kakanfo Queens.
Coach’s comment: Another new comer, but her striking talents are transparent. Very mobile playerwhose blending will help the team.
Adesola Abiodun Adeyeye: Osun State. Defender. School Certificate holder. Born December 1, 1974. Nickname: Mayor. Club: Liberty Stars, Ibadan. Hero: Pele.
Coach’s comment: Another new comer, but she’s an aggressive central defender. Strong, intercepts passes well and she’s a good tracker of strikers. But she shoots feebly.
Elizabeth Ehizogie Ogiemwonyi: Edo State. Defender. School Certificate holder. Born February 23, 197–. Nickname: Olopa (Police). Club: Kakanfo Queens. Hero: Pele.
Coach’s comment: Relative newcomer into the team, so a fair assessment is impossible. But she’s a central defender with a fairly good header.
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