Super Falcons head coach Thomas Dennerby says African women teams need better teamwork if they are to be successful.
The Swede says the individual skills are there to match teams from other continents.
Dennerby guided Sweden to third place at the 2011 Women’s World Cup and is now preparing to take the Super Falcons to this year’s finals in France.
“There are a lot of skilful and creative players in Africa, but these players need to understand how to play together as a team,” Dennerby told bbc.co.uk.
“Football is really a team sport, one player cannot do it all. They [African countries] can perform better when they go to the World Cup as a team.”
“African teams need to learn to move the ball around, defend and attack together as a unit.
“I think sometimes they play more individually and in a bad shape as a collective side unlike teams from other continents. It’s the biggest difference affecting them.”
Dennerby, who took charge of the Super Falcons in January 2018, spoke after he saw his side thrash Burkina Faso at the 2019 Women’s WAFU Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.
His squad in Abidjan includes Chiamaka Nnadozie, Christy Ohiaeriaku, Glory Ogbonna and Amarachi Okoronkwo, who were all in Ghana when Nigeria won the 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
That victory in Ghana saw Nigeria keep up their record of having qualified for every Women’s World Cup since it began in 1991.
Others in the Wafu squad will be hoping to catch Dennerby’s eye and force themselves into his plan for the World Cup.
He believes the continent can do better than ever at this year’s finals if the teams address the lack of collective play.
South Africa and Cameroon are Africa’s other representatives in France and the trio will be hoping to do better than Nigeria’s quarter-finals place in 1999.
After mixed results in 2019, Dennerby, who is set to become the first foreign coach to both qualify for and lead Nigeria at the World Cup, is confident they have had a decent preparation to impress in France.
“No, I’m not under pressure as a coach because we are working well,” he said.
“We’ve prepared well with the tournaments in China and Cyprus, so the Nigeria federation has been very supportive.
“There is nothing to complain about and I know we have a team capable of doing well at the World Cup.”
Nine-time African champions Nigeria are in a tough Group A alongside hosts France, 1995 winners Norway and South Korea.
Debutants South Africa will play in Group B alongside Germany, China and Spain.
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