FIFA Women’s World Cup: You made attempts to influence my selection, Waldrum hits NFF

Super Falcons head coach, Randy Waldrum, has said he is “frustrated” by the “lack of support” from the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Speaking on the team’s readiness for the tournament when he featured on the ‘Sounding Off on Soccer’ podcast, Waldrum said the Falcons “are not prepared the way we need to be”.

The Falcons qualified for the World Cup in July 2022.

The team has been drawn in Group B alongside Australia, Canada, and the Republic of Ireland in the tourney billed to kick off on July 20.

The head coach also released the final list of 23 players that would be representing Nigeria at the competition.

During the interview, the American said he had to rely on performance from the previous camps to select his list.

He accused the NFF of cancelling their final training camp without explanation.

“We have qualified for the tournament way back in the springtime. You would have hoped that we would have used that time to prepare, but unfortunately, that has not really been the case,” Waldrum said.

“We were supposed to have a camp in Nigeria for some days before departing for Australia, but for whatever reason, the federation cancelled. So I could not double-check the players or invite new legs into the team, so I have to just pick the final 23 players based on the last camp.

“I know we are not prepared the way we need to be. [I have] been very frustrated with the federation (NFF) and the lack of support we have got at different levels.”

Waldrum also accused the NFF of forcing him to drop his assistant coach from his World Cup entourage because he refused to “select a goalkeeper from Nigeria that I have never seen”.

“After the loss in Morocco (WAFCON 2022), the players hadn’t been paid, and so they boycotted training before the match against Zambia,” he said.

“My backup goalkeeper (Tochukwu Oluehi) spoke to the federation about not getting paid, and they didn’t like how she spoke, so they dismissed her from the national team. Eventually, they let her back only if she wrote an apology letter.

“They wanted me to pick a goalkeeper from Nigeria for the World Cup that I have never seen, has never been in one of our camps. I said no that my contract says I pick my teams, so they retaliated that I can’t take my assistant coach (Lauren Gregg).”

The World Cup will be hosted by New Zealand and Australia.

The Falcons are scheduled to play Canada in their first match on July 21 before facing Australia six days later. The team will play Ireland in their last group game on July 31.

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