The Super Falcons forward, Asisat Oshoala said Nigeria did not play with the best team in the Tokyo 2020 CAF Women’s Olympic Games Qualifiers, following a third successive botched campaign in October.
The African champions made an exciting start to the year with a third-place finish at the Chinese Invitational in January, before an enterprising debut at the Cyprus Women’s Cup a month later.
Thereafter, Thomas Dennerby’s side held their own against Canada in April’s international friendly in Spain before another superb display to win a maiden WAFU Women’s Cup of Nations title in May.
The Super Falcons earned a fourth-ever win with Oshoala’s winner helping them earn a 2-1 win over South Korea at the World Cup in France as they progressed to the knockout stage for the first time in 20 years.
However, first-team players like Desire Oparanozie, Rita Chikwelu, Halimatu Ayinde and Onome Ebi were left out of the country’s Olympic qualifying series for administrative reasons.
Despite edging past Algeria, they later bowed out against Cote d’Ivoire, and the striker feels the absence of some experienced players ruined their dreams for next year’s Olympic Games.
“In the Olympic Qualifiers, we did our best to qualify, but, obviously, we didn’t have our best team,” Oshoala told Goal.
“Our best team didn’t play the qualifying games. I was there and we missed a lot of players from the Women’s World Cup who didn’t feature in the Olympic qualifying matches.
“I think that if we are going to be building a team and really wanted to go to the Olympics, the players we had were not experienced enough.
“There were a lot of young players, maybe, they were trying to build the team, but I think experience counts a lot in games that involve two legs and then it’s a knockout.
“A lot of experienced players were not part of the team and it actually added to the reason why we didn’t qualify.
Oshoala featured in the second leg against Algeria and scored Nigeria’s only goal at the Agege Stadium to help the country advance to the third round of the series 3-0 on aggregate.