Turkish Cup: Waldrum impressed with Falcons victory


Kelvin Ekerete

Super Falcons coach Randy Waldrum is in ecstatic mood after the African champions beat CSKA Moscow 1-0 in their opening fixture at the ongoing Turkish Women’s Cup on Thursday.

Striker Chinwendu Ihezuo’s 18th minute tap-in from a Francesca Ordega’s low cross was enough for the Nigerians to subdue their in-form Russian opponents.

The Falcons came into the competition on the heels of a 15-month hiatus, while the Russian giants were cruising on three straight preseason wins.

The game was the first test for the team’s new coach Randy Waldrum, who is linking up with the side for the first time since his appointment in October 2020.

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“I was actually very pleased overall considering the team had not been together for over a year, and it’s my first couple of days of training and preparations with them. I was pleased to get the result and I think it’s important that we continue to win and learn how to win, but at the same time, there’s a lot to work on,” Waldrum said after the game.

“We can take some real positives from the first match, we saw a lot of things we really need to improve upon. But personally as a coach, to get the first win for Nigeria was really special for me. So, I’m excited and really proud of the players.”

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Also, goal scorer Ihezuo is looking forward to a better performance in their next game against table-toppers Uzbekistan in their second match on Saturday.

In the other result, Uzbekistan thrashed two-time African champions Equatorial Guinea 5-0 at the same venue on Wednesday.

“I feel very great and happy to score the only goal in the game, I saw the opportunity coming and I tapped the ball into the net. The next game, we’re hoping to do better, we tried our best against CSKA, but we want to do better in the next game,” Ihezuo said.

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Falcons’ assistant coach, Ann Chiejine, added, “The mood is high, everyone is happy; the girls are really ready to go. Their performance was fantastic after such a long layoff. It’s been over a year since they last played and this game was like a test game for them.”

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