The 2011 FIFA WWC saw Africa parade two of her best- serial representatives, Nigeria and debutants, Equatorial Guinea and though both countries had high hopes coming into the tournament,they were eliminated at the first stage. Nigeria chalked her first world cup victory after 9 tries and conceded the least amount of goals at the world stage in the country's women's world cup history.
They lost all their matches yet,Equatorial Guinea will walk away with their heads held high as there was never a dull moment with the small country from the the middle of Africa.
The standard of play at 2011 FIFA women's world cup is very high,a plus to the growth and development of the game and it's players but there is more to be done on the African front in regards to tactical and technical discipline of players.
One thread that runs through the African game is the lack of technical and tactical understanding of soccer, that has been the bane of African soccer players.Nigeria has been a dominant force on the continent for so long but has always fallen short at the world stage,the reason being that, players develop speed,strength and skill and do little or nothing on the tactical and technical dispensation of the game which is one very important spoke in the wheel of the evolving game.
There are many players spread over the continent endowed with the Marta and Cristiane-esque skills but will not measure up to the tactical discipline exhibited by the Germans,Americans, Swedes or the English players.This problem can be addressed when coaches add TEACHING of all aspects of the game to their repertoire or activities at an early stage of the player's development.Teaching ends where coaching begins and coaches must first, teach their players before coaching them rather than vice versa.
In Africa,no player is taught how to play the game of soccer nor the intricacies of the sport from the youth ranks and this has led to the practice and perfection of wrong techniques coupled with a zero know-how on the execution of tactical play.This results in the in-flux of talented individual players who can only perform individually by showcasing their capabilities whiles their team suffers on the tactical front.
Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea came,saw but could not conquer the world at Germany 2011 and as they go home to their respective countries,it is my fervent hope and that of others that, the FA's of the two nations including FA's of all women's soccer loving countries on the continent, will begin to tackle the development of players more seriously by offering quality training programs for their coaches,investing in women's soccer leagues from the grassroots to the elite division,provide more avenues for the discovery of talent as well as educating fans of both sexes about the need for supporting and encouraging women who have chosen soccer as their livelihood, whiles debunking the primitive notions many have about female soccer players.
The future is indeed bright but what we do with the experience gathered thus far is what matters.
Kudos to Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea for doing their best. Let's hope Canada 2015 becomes the year for Africa at the women's world cup.