Five Super Falcons will be on parade when the group stage of the 2023/2024 UEFA Women’s Champions League begins next month.
The group stage of the competition is expected to run from November 14, 2023, to January 13, 2024. But unlike previous editions, there are more Nigerians among the clubs featuring this term.
🏆 The Class of 2023/24 🏆
🥁 Introducing the 16 #UWCL group stage contenders
— UEFA Women’s Champions League (@UWCL) October 18, 2023
But who are these Nigerians expected to fly the country flag and wear their club’s colours when the stage is set?
Chiamaka’s Safe Pair Of Hands
+ 3 , CLEAN SHEET. IMPORTANT WIN AT HOME 💙🤍 pic.twitter.com/UMlry38liZ
— Nnadozie chiamaka (@Nadoziechiamaka) October 14, 2023
Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie stole the headlines earlier in the week when she saved a penalty as her club Paris FC reached the group stage of the competition, beating Wolfsburg.
The French side defeated them 0-2 away from home to book their spot in the group stage for the first time in about ten years.
Wolfsburg had forced Paris FC to a 3-3 draw in the reverse fixture at the Stade Charléty. Nnadozie, was, however, to play a major role in the return leg win when she saved from 12 yards to deny the German outfit an equaliser. Louise Fleury then doubled the lead for the visiting team to send them to the next stage.
Earlier, the Super Falcon was on show as Paris FC defeated Arsenal in a qualification match. In that game, she saved two penalties in the 4-2 shootout triumph over the North London side.
Paris FC are in Group D with Chelsea, Real Madrid, and BK Hacken.
Away from Nnadozie, another Nigerian who is not new to the Champions League will be on show. A two-time winner of the competition – the first African to even clinch it – Asisat Oshoala is set to go in search of a third European title.
Although she did not feature in FC Barcelona Femini’s final victory over Wolfsburg last season – their second time winning the crown in a row – the 28-year-old is billed to play a major role for the Spanish side this campaign.
The defending champions are in Group A and do battle with Benfica, Eintracht Frankfurt, and Rosengard.
Ucheibe’s Moment Of Glory
— Ucheibe Christy (@UcheibeC) October 19, 2023
In the quest to make it a third time lucky for Barcelona, Oshoala will take on compatriot Christy Ucheibe in the same lot.
Ucheibe, who plays for Benfica, featured with the Ballon d’Or nominee as the Super Falcons reached the round of 16 at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia/New Zealand.
The Benfica midfielder was on song, scoring her first Champions League goal in the second leg 4-0 routing of Apollo at the Benfica Campus. Her side qualified after the aggregate score ended 11-0 in their favour.
Rosengard Back With Ayinde
To make the group more interesting, another Super Falcons star Halimatu Ayinde will wear Rosengard’s colours.
Ayinde’s club returned to the group stage after seeing off Spartak Subotica of Serbia 7-2 on aggregate.
Payne To Pick Up?
Many Nigerians will also be watching Group C closely with their compatriot Nicole Payne’s team Paris-Saint Germain (PSG) locked with Bayern Munich, AS Roma, and Ajax.
Although she was listed in the squad that defeated Manchester United in the second round of qualifiers, Payne is yet to stamp her feet in the PSG side.
The Nigerian only joined the French giants this summer but will fancy her chances of playing in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.