Nigeria has long dominated the women's football scene in Africa, but they now have their sights set on making their mark on the global stage.

The Super Falcons were crowned African champions for a fifth time last November, keeping up their monopoly of the continental game, but they have not been able to translate that dominance into success at the FIFA Women's World Cup or the Olympic Women's Football Tournament.

It has also not been through a lack of exposure because Nigeria are perennial competitors in all of the top events. They have been to every FIFA Women's World Cup since 1991, but only once managed to finish in the top eight.

Four years ago, Nigeria were arguably the biggest disappointment of the first round of USA2003, losing all three Group A matches and failing to score a single goal.

The majority of the squad is likely to return for the 2007 finals in China, including veterans Mercy Akide and Florence Omagbemi, who missed the recent African championship. Omagbemi played in the first-ever FIFA Women's World Cup in China in 1991.

The women's game in the populous west African country continues to produce exciting talent. The latest is Cynthia Uwak, recently named as one of the three contenders of the 2006 CAF Women's Footballer of the Year award.

Qualification
Nigeria hosted the African women's championship for the third time and won it for the fifth but not without a shaky start. The opening game of the tournament saw the Super Falcons having to rally to beat debutants Equatorial Guinea 4-2 with two goals from Uwak and another from 2006 CAF Women's Footballer of the Year Perpetua Nkwocha.

That was followed by a six goal thrashing of Algeria and a 2-0 win over South Africa, who ended as runners-up in the group. Nigeria then met Cameroon to decide a final place and also a spot at the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup.

They defeated the west Africans 4-0 in the final of the 2004 African women's championship in Johannesburg and went one better this time round with a 5-0 victory, with Nkwocha scoring a hat trick.

She also got the only goal of the final, as Ghana were beaten 1-0 and ended up as the tournament's leading scorer with seven goals.

Coach
Effiom Ntiero will be going to his third FIFA tournament after taking the helm of the Nigerian side that competed at the FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship in Canada in 2002. He was also the assistant coach of the Nigerian senior sides at the 1999 Women's World Cup in the USA.

Ntiero, 52, has been involved in women's coaching since 1990, when he took charge of Pelican Stars, the most successful side in Nigerian football.

Ntiero was a player in Nigeria's Army Forces team and also at Calabar Rovers. He took over as the national team coach midway through 2006.

FIFA Women's World Cup history

  • Nigeria have qualified for all four of the previous FIFA Women's World Cups.

  • At the 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup, Nigeria lost their three first round matches, conceding seven goals without scoring.

  • At the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup, the Super Falcons won their first point, but still finished bottom of their group.

  • At the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup there was a breakthrough as Nigeria finished second in their group after wins over DPR Korea and Denmark. They lost to Brazil on a golden goal in the quarter-finals.

  • At the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup, the Super Falcons were bitterly disappointed with three successive first round losses and their failure to find the back of the net.

What they said...
"I believe the 2007 World Cup is going to be good to us" - Nigeria coach Effiom Ntiero.