Waldrum Questions FIFA Rankings, Asserts Falcons’ Merit for Top 20 Position

Super Falcons’ Head Coach, Randy Waldrum, has expressed his belief that his team deserves a higher rank in the most recent FIFA rankings that were unveiled on Friday by the global governing body of football, according to a report by PUNCH Sports Extra.

The reigning African champions, who have clinched the title nine times, surged up the rankings by eight spots, advancing from the 40th to the 32nd position. This surge follows their remarkable performance in the 2023 Women’s World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand. In the tournament, the Falcons progressed to the round of 16, marking the third occasion in the history of the event that they reached this stage.

Waldrum’s squad secured an impressive victory against co-hosts Australia, who held the 10th rank, with a score of 3-2. They also secured draws against the seventh-ranked Olympic champions, Canada, and the 21st-ranked Ireland. Unfortunately, their journey was cut short as they faced the third-ranked European champions, England, who ultimately reached the finals, and were defeated on penalties in the round of 16.

In an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, the 66-year-old coach shared his conviction that the Falcons should be placed within the top 20 teams in the world following their exceptional performance in the World Cup. He stated, “Undoubtedly, given our accomplishments, we should command a higher standing. Emerging from the ‘group of death,’ not losing within regulation time, achieving draws against the defending Olympic Gold medalists (ranked 7), prevailing against the host nation (ranked 10), sharing points with Ireland (ranked 21), and securing a draw against the European Champions England (ranked 3), we should minimally secure a place in the top 20.” Waldrum, who also manages the women’s team at the Pittsburgh Panthers in the US, expressed these sentiments to PUNCH Sports Extra.

Through his Twitter account, Waldrum conveyed his disappointment, stating, “I must admit I am somewhat taken aback by this, to say the least… and not in a positive manner!”

The team’s former defender, Yinka Kudaisi, also weighed in on their improved rank. Having earned 17 caps, she participated in events such as the Women’s World Cup, WAFCON, and the Olympic Games. Kudaisi remarked, “I’m inclined to concur with Waldrum on this issue; the Falcons merit a higher rank than their current placement at 32nd. In my personal estimation, I did not anticipate the level of performance they exhibited at the World Cup. They validated their abilities and silenced detractors who had not given them a chance.”

Meanwhile, Waldrum, whose contract is set to expire on October 32, expressed his desire to continue coaching the Falcons. “I take pride in my team,” Waldrum conveyed in a conversation with journalist Osasu Obayuwana. He further added, “I’m keen on remaining with this group and persisting in our pursuit of the Olympics (Paris 2024). Nonetheless, this decision isn’t solely mine to make.”

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