Nigeria - Global stage a step too far?

August 17, 2007
By ESPNsoccernet

Nigeria, having dominated women's football in Africa for a number of years, are still striving to make a lasting impression on the global stage.

GettyImages / Christof KoepselVeteran Mercy Akide provides leadership for Nigeria.

Although they have qualified for four previous World Cups they have only ever finished in the top eight once and have otherwise finished bottom of their group with three successive defeats and a poor goal scoring record.

Their coach, Effiom Ntiero, has been involved in women's coaching since 1990 and will be going into his third FIFA tournament with a similar squad that played in 2003.

One notable exception will be the involvement of 21 year-old Cynthia Uwak, who was voted a creditable 11th at the FIFA World Player of the Year awards in October 2006, as well as being short listed for the 2006 African Player of the Year.

She is a highly passionate and motivated member of the team and is looking forward to her World Cup experience.

Most observers are predicting a repeat of previous tournaments for the Nigerians, who are not tipped to get past the group stages.