Francisca Ordega has acknowledged that competition among African countries participating in the women's game is fast improving and could be difficult to predict in the next six years.
Ordega, who was a member of Nigeria's 2016 African Women's Cup of Nations-winning squad, admitted a lot has changed with African women's football while recounting her experience helping her side defeat the hosts Cameroon 1-0 in front of a packed 40,000 capacity Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium to clinch an eight-record title.
“This crowd was something else. Even for men, you don’t often see that kind of support,” Ordega told FIFA.com.
"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.
She continued: “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 first time I played against Cameroon, it was like playing against babies, we were just toying with them and taking them for granted.
"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.”
On Nigeria's 2015 World Cup early exit, the Washington Spirit forward insists her side's inexperience saw them crash out but assured they will surpass their previous best at the 2019 edition in France if they qualify.
“I think we did very well in Canada but we lacked experience. Most of our players were 21, 22 and that is a big difference to the likes of Sweden and USA. But we hope to keep growing as a team so that when the next World Cup comes around we will reach the next level.”