Last year’s final of the CAF Africa Women Cup of Nations saw fans arriving at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde hours before dawn for a match with a mid-afternoon kick off schedule. The stadium was effectively at its full 40,000 capacity a full five hours before kick-off. It is a moment that will surely go down as a milestone event for African women’s football.
“This crowd was something else,” an animated Ordega said. “Even for men, you don’t often see that kind of support. The place was crazy that day, people couldn’t even get into the stadium. This was really something else, truly amazing.
“I was very happy that we won in front of all the Lionesses fans. It is a different feeling altogether. Playing against Cameroon was really tough. They are a great team, and everyone in Cameroon was supporting them. But we had a lot of professionals in our team, and we were able to count on that experience. Also having a female coach (Florence Omagbemi) and female technical crew … the feeling was somehow different.”
The win in Yaounde was a tenth continental victory for Nigeria, with the Super Falcons record spoilt only by two wins for Equatorial Guinea. While Nigeria have long had it their own way, the spread of talent at the recent continental championship is evidence of a rapidly-changing environment on the Mother Continent.
Ordega says she has seen significant change during her relatively short career. “The first time I played against Cameroon, it was like playing against babies, we were just toying with them and taking them for granted,” she said.
“But now it is different, [Cameroon] were tough and hard. I’m proud that things have changed in my generation compared to how they used to be. In the near future things are going to be different.
“African countries are really improving. Before it was just Nigeria and Ghana, but now it is not just those teams. Everyone [in Africa] is coming on so much. Trust me, in five or six years [African women’s football] is going to be different.”
Ordega says the talent pool in Nigeria is enormous, but still needs to be developed appropriately. “We have so many young girls playing the game now,” Ordega said. “I get a lot of messages on my Facebook, my Instagram, saying ‘I want to be like you when I grow up’ and ‘I want to be a professional’.”
Culled from FIFA.com