Nigeria’s Super Falcons forward Michelle Alozie recently shared her insights about her remarkable journey at the recently-concluded 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia. Alozie, who plays club football for the Houston Dash in the National Women’s Soccer League, opened up about her team’s inspiring performance and her own contributions.
The Super Falcons’ resilience and collective spirit led saw them finish second in the group stage, propelling them into the round of 16. Although they faced a dramatic penalty shootout loss against England in the knockout stage, Alozie expressed pride in the team’s journey. “It was one that I just dreamed about since I was a little kid,” she said. “I was just super grateful to be able to do it alongside my teammates.”
Alozie’s emphasis on the team’s focus on performance over media chatter was evident. “The thing that we did right when the World Cup started or exactly when we started preparations for the World Cup was that we didn’t let any of the media really define anything.
“We didn’t really care for what the media was saying. We knew that all we could do was perform, and to do that, we just had to work hard, and through that, we would prove everybody wrong. So instead of speaking to the media or letting the media change anything about us, we knew our performance would be the ultimate factor. We shut the mouths of a lot of the media people.
Alozie’s adaptability was also a talking point, as she embraced the role of a right-back during the tournament. “All my life, I’ve played as a seven, so I’ve been a forward,” the 26-year-old explained. “I’ve been either a nine or a seven, so that’s my natural position.
“It was only since I made my debut for Nigeria that I entered that full-back right-back role, so I take advantage of any chance I have to go forward. It’s something that I feel comfortable doing. I love doing this, and I showed that I am a right-back who loves to get forward because I am a forward from my club side.”
During the global showpiece, Nigeria played out a tense goalless draw with England before going on to penalties where they lost 4-2. The Super Falcons, though, were the better of the two sides.
“I think we played confidently the entire game, and that showed we did have more opportunities than England, and it was just unfortunate that we could not put some of the chances away,” Alozie said. “Halps had an excellent game. I think that you know we just played with a lot of confidence we felt really confident in that game and I think that showed in our performance and you know football is just a little bit cruel and sometimes, the team that has had the most chances doesn’t always win, but we just learned from that and keep moving.”
In that game, the Nigerian was on the receiving end of a silly challenge from England’s Lauren James, who was sent off for it, with photos of that tackle and the player’s reaction making rounds on social media.
“I think it was just funny how it all came about. After the game obviously, I was really upset and wasn’t really looking on my phone and some of my teammates were just like Michelle you have to see like this photo of you like it’ll make you like smile a little bit because I was really upset. But I mean it’s just kind of funny it’s just how the game goes.
“A lot of people ask me why I kind of reacted like that and like I was on a yellow card so I didn’t want to you know react and then possibly get myself evicted from the game so I just knew that through the actions that she did that a red card was likely so I didn’t really have to do much.”
As the Super Falcons continue to make strides globally, Alozie’s commitment remains steadfast. “What we did has a spiralling effect on everything happening in Nigeria, specifically women’s football. I think that if we, as the Super Falcons, continue to grow and show that we are a team that is hard to beat on a national or a global scale as opposed to just in African soccer, I think that would only help with the development of women’s football in Nigeria which is what we can hope for.
“A lot of my teammates now in the Super Falcons have really tapped in and are investing in women’s football in Nigeria, and that’s beautiful to see, so this will only continue to grow.
“We have to do our part and continue to play well,” she asserted, highlighting the team’s role in nurturing women’s football in Nigeria.