Dennerby: Falcons Not Going to Make up the Numbers in France

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Thomas Dennerby

FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP

Duro Ikhazuagbe

Super Falcons Swedish Coach, Thomas Dennerby, has warned other qualified countries for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup that the African champions are not just going to France to make up the numbers but to make an impact in global women’s soccer.

After the Nigerian senior women’s team defeated South Africa in penalty shoot out to win the 2018 AWCON and grabbed a ticket as one of the few countries that have never missed the World Cup since inception in China in 1991, Dennerby is upbeat about his team.

“We should have the mission to come here (France) and make an impact at the World Cup. Nigeria is ripe for that, but adequate preparation will be key,” observed the coach who was among the country’s delegation that inspected facilities where Falcons would abode during the group stage clashes next year.

They also inspected the 21,000-capacity Stade Auguste Delaune in Reims.

To achieve the aim of progressing beyond the group stage, Dennerby insisted Falcons must win the opening game against Norway.

“Our objective would be to get three points off Norway. We would then go hard against Korea Republic and then take our chances against France. For me, coming to the World Cup next summer should not be about Nigeria just making up the number.

“In the early editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Norway used to have outstanding teams. I am not saying they no longer have a strong team. But I believe that if we are able to use our power and pace to maximum effect, and we improve our marksmanship, we can get a good result against them.

“Certainly, we would need a fitness coach to put the Super Falcons in great shape so that we can have that power and great pace to work for us. We would also need to play friendly matches and invitational tournaments to try various formations and combinations.”

The inspection of the Stade Auguste Delaune was done alongside the delegations of Norway, United States of America and Thailand, who would also make use of the venue for matches during next summer’s World Cup.

The stadium was opened as Stade Municipal in 1934, but brought down entirely and rebuilt in 2008. It is named after a former Sports Minister of France who died in a concentration camp during World War II.

Nigeria and Norway go at each other’s jugular in the second match of Group A on 8th June 2019, a day after hosts France and Korea Republic would have opened the tournament at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

Incidentally, Norway’s coach, youthful Martin Sjogren, is also Swedish and is a friend of Dennerby.

The delegation, which included NFF Director of Communications Ademola Olajire and Team Administrator, Mary Oboduku, also inspected the Mercure Hotel Reims where the Super Falcons will stay, as well as the training pitch.

After playing Norway on 8th June, the Super Falcons will move to Grenoble to play Korea Republic on 12th June before heading to Rennes to take on France on 17th June.