Monday Feb 18, 2019. 10:00
Mercy Akide-Udoh, a former African Women’s Player of the Year, has called on Nigeria to improve their preparations ahead of the World Cup later this year.
The Women’s World Cup will be held in France in June and July, with the Super Falcons drawn in Group A with the host nation, South Korea and Norway.
Nigeria’s programme ahead of the tournament includes participation in the Cyprus Cup and a camp in Austria, but Akide-Udoh, who starred as Nigeria reached the quarterfinals of the 1999 World Cup, wants them to play more games.
"To have a good tournament and avoid another embarrassing outing, the girls deserves to compete against the very best in the women's game to get themselves ready," Akide-Udoh told BBC Sport.
"Other countries going to the World Cup are playing friendlies, but we are not which is not a good sign.
"I have always said that Nigeria must start showing that we deserve to be at the World Cup and stop being contented with just participating since 1991.”
Akide-Udoh also wants to see the team improve in a tactical sense if they are to have a chance of avoiding an early exit from the tournament.
"We have a lot of work to do defensively and also in our ball possessions as well," she said.
"Obviously, we are strong physically but we lack in the tactical aspects of the game and this has hindered the team's progress in bigger competitions.
"Preparation is also key to enable the coach time to work extensively with the squad and correct some of the problems noticed at the last African championship.
"Look at South Africa who are already in camp preparing, but the majority of our players are on holiday and inactive at club level.
"Importantly, the women's game needs more structure in Nigeria and we cannot continue to treat it like we currently do."