Waldrum Unveils Super Falcons Team For AFCON

The Super Falcons are nine-time winners of the competition.

 

Super Falcons coach, Randy Waldrum has picked Captain Onome Ebi and 24 other players to represent Nigeria at the 12th Women Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Morocco, 2nd – 23rd July.

The team will depart Nigeria for Morocco on Monday, 27th June.

The list of the nine-time champions is an interesting mix of experience and youth, with veterans Tochukwu Oluehi, Ebi, Rita Chikwelu, Osinachi Ohale, Francisca Ordega and Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene on board, as well as defenders Ashleigh Plumptre, Nicole Payne and Michelle Alozie, midfielder Regina Otu and forwards Vivian Ikechukwu, Gift Monday and Ifeoma Onumonu.

READ ALSO: Super Falcons To Play Japan In October

Dropped from the contingent that made the camp in Abuja were goalkeeper Rita Akarekor, defenders Chidinma Okeke, Ngozi Emenayo and Opeyemi Sunday. Midfielders Suliat Abideen, Amanda Uju Mbadi and Charity Adule, and forward Anam Imo were also dropped.

The Super Falcons will confront South Africa’s Banyana Banyana in their first match of the tournament on Monday, 4th July before other games against Botswana (7th July) and Burundi (10th July).

The semi-finalists at the championship in Morocco will qualify to represent Africa at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

 

SUPER FALCONS TEAM

Goalkeepers: Chiamaka Nnadozie (Paris FC, France); Tochukwu Oluehi (Maccabi Kishronot Hadera, Israel); Yewande Balogun (Coppermine United, USA)

Defenders: Glory Ogbonna (Santa Teresa FC, Spain); Onome Ebi (En Avant Guingamp, France); Osinachi Ohale (Deportivo Alaves, Spain); Ashleigh Plumptre (Leicester City, England); Nicole Payne (West Virginia University, USA); Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash, USA); Akudo Ogbonna (Edo Queens)

Midfielders: Peace Efih (Kiryat Gat, Israel); Halimatu Ayinde (Eskilstuna FC, Sweden); Toni Oyedupe Payne (Sevilla FC, Spain); Regina Otu (Minsk FC, Belarus); Christy Ucheibe (SL Benfica, Portugal); Rasheedat Ajibade (Atletico Madrid, Spain); Rita Chikwelu (Madrid CFF, Spain); Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene (Eskilstuna FC, Sweden)

Forwards: Francisca Ordega (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Vivian Ikechukwu (WFC Gintra, Lithuania); Chinonyerem Macleans (GSK Gornik Leczna, Poland); Ifeoma Onumonu (NY/NJ Gotham FC, USA); Uchenna Kanu (Tigres Femenil, Mexico); Asisat Oshoala (FC Barcelona, Spain); Gift Monday (Bayelsa Queens)

Int’l Friendly: Super Falcons To Play Japan In October

A file photo of Super Falcons players during a training session in Lagos.

 

Nigeria’s Super Falcons will take on the senior women’s national team of Japan in an international friendly match at the Noevir Stadium, Kobe on October 6.

The date falls within one of the FIFA Women International Windows for this year.

Nadeshiko Japan, which is the alias of the Women National Team of Japan, are rated 13th in the world, while the Super Falcons are 39th.

Both teams have clashed only once at a competitive level. When they met on August 14, 2004, at the Olympic Women’s Football Tournament, Nadeshiko pipped the Falcons 1-0 at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus.

Two back-to-back friendlies in 2013 were won 2-0 each by the Japanese women’s team.

Japan won the FIFA World Cup in Germany in 2011, beating Team USA in a pulsating penalty shootout after regulation time ended 2-2.

Nadeshiko thus became the first team from Asia to win a senior FIFA World Cup trophy.

The Super Falcons are champions of Africa for a record nine times and have participated at every FIFA Women’s World Cup since the competition began in 1991, reaching the quarter-finals in 1999.

19 Players Storm Abuja As Super Falcons Open Women’s AFCON Camp

The Super Falcons are nine-time winners of the competition. [email protected]

 

Nineteen players have arrived in Abuja as the Super Falcons opened their camp for the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON).

The team is camping in the nation’s capital for the tournament billed for Morocco between July 2 and 23rd.

In a tweet on their official handle, the Super Falcons listed the players in camp as Onome Ebi, Rita Chikwelu, Osinachi Ohale, Tochukwu Oluehi, Glory Ogbonna, Asisat Oshoala, Rasheedat Ajibade, and Chiamaka Nnadozie.

Others are Chidinma Okeke, Rita Akarekor, Gift Monday, Opeyemi Sunday, Charity Adule, Christy Ucheibe, Suliat Abideen, Chinonyerem Macleans, Peace Efih, Ugochi Emenayo, Akudo Ogbonna.

Yewande Balogun, Toni Oyedupe Payne, Michelle Alozie, and Amanda Uju Mbadi are also expected to arrive at camp later on Friday.

Nicole Payne, Uchenna Kanu, Desire Oparanozie, and Regina Otu will also be in camp this weekend while Ashleigh Plumptre, Francisca Ordega, Vivian Ikechukwu, Halimatu Ayinde, and Ifeoma Onumonu will join the team in Morocco.

READ ALSO: Liverpool Agree To Sadio Mane’s £35m Bayern Munich Move – Reports

The defending champions had their first training at the MKO Abiola Stadium Friday evening as preparations kick-off for the competition.

Nigeria defeated South Africa to clinch the last edition of the tournament in 2018  and had also beaten perennial rivals Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to book a place in Morocco.

The nine-time winners are in Group C of the WAFCON with Burundi, Botswana, and South Africa. Coach Randy Waldrum’s team begin their campaign against the Banyana Banyana on July 4th.

They will then face Botswana on July 7 before taking on Burundi on July 10. Semi-finalists in the tournament will represent Africa at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia/New Zealand.

2022 WAFCON: Super Falcons, Banyana Banyana To Clash Again

A file photo of the Super Falcons of Nigeria.

 

The 2022 Women’s African Cup of Nations will have a repeat of the Nigeria against South Africa battle.

The Super Falcons have been drawn to play Banyana Banyana, Botswana and Burundi in Group C of the 14th Women Africa Cup of Nations taking place 2nd – 23rd July in Morocco.

Nigeria and South Africa faced off in the same group at the last edition of the competition in Ghana, with the South African ladies winning by the odd goal.

Both teams met again in the final, which ended scoreless after regulation and extra time. The Super Falcons eventually triumphed 4-3 on penalties to win a record 9th title.

READ ALSO: Super Falcons To Know AWCON Opponents On Friday

Host nation Morocco lead Group A which also has Burkina Faso, Senegal, and Uganda, while Cameroon head Group B where they compete with Zambia, Tunisia, and Togo.

The semi-finalists from the tournament will represent Africa at the first-ever 32-team FIFA Women’s World Cup finals, to be hosted by New Zealand and Australia in the summer of next year.

GROUP A

Morocco

Burkina Faso

Senegal

Uganda

GROUP B

Cameroon

Zambia

Tunisia

Togo

GROUP C

Nigeria

South Africa

Burundi

Botswana

Super Falcons To Know AWCON Opponents On Friday

A file photo of the Super Falcons.

 

Nigeria’s senior women’s national team, the Super Falcons will know their opponents in this year’s Women Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON) when the draw ceremony is done on Friday in Morocco.

The Mohamed VI Complex in the North African kingdom has been scheduled to host the event, which will bundle the 12 teams qualified for the 12th edition of the tournament into three groups of four teams each.

2022 AWCON is scheduled to take place from July 2nd to 23rd.

Nine-time champions and cup holders Super Falcons have been selected as leaders of Group C, with host nation Morocco at the top of Group A while Cameroon will head Group B.

The other participating countries are Burkina Faso, Burundi, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, Botswana, Uganda, and Zambia.

READ ALSO: Confident Flying Eagles Ready For WAFU B Championship

Nigeria won the Women AFCON titles in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2016, and 2018. The 2020 competition was obliterated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Equatorial Guinea won the competition in 2008 and 2012 but have lost their venom and dazzle in the past few years and failed to reach this year’s finals.

The semi-finalists from the tournament in Morocco will represent Africa at the 32-team FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year.

Super Falcons Held To Draw By Canada

Photo of Super Falcons

 

The Super Falcons were held to a 2-2 draw by Canada in an early kick-off friendly match on Tuesday.

Super Falcons were looking to avenge their  0-2  defeat to their Canadian counterparts last week Friday in the two-game encounter between both sides.

Ifeoma Onumonu and Rasheedat Ajibade filled in for a missing Asisat Oshoala as they locked horns with the sixth-ranked country in the world at the Starlight Stadium, Langford.

Eleven-time African champions were able to rattle the Canadians in the 8th-minute of the first half when a free-kick was converted by NJ/NY Gotham FC striker, Ifeoma Onumonu to give them the lead.

Goalkeeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie was called on several occasions to keep the Olympic champions at bay with increased pressure from the home team.

The first half ended with the Super Falcons in a  lone goal lead over the Canadian side.

Photo of the Super Falcons

 

Randy Waldrum side resumed the second half with the same intensity as the first and almost extended their lead in the 46th- minute from club Tigres UANL forward, Uchenna Kanu, who unleashed a powerful shot from outside the box that was parried by the Canadian shot-stopper, Sheridan.

However, an error from goalkeeper, Nnadozieand and captain Onome Ebi gifted the Canadian side their 48th -minute equaliser.

Rashidat Ajibade was able to restore the side’s advantage with a cross that beat everyone in the near box.

A wave of pressure from Canada finally yielded fruit with an 88th-minute header from Shelina Zadorsky stealing victory from the Falcons to leave the score deadlocked.

The two games against Canada were a huge test for the Super Falcons as they continued to prepare for the 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations tournament to hold in Morocco.

 

 

 

Waldrum: Our Mission Is To See Super Falcons Compete Creditably With The World’s Best

Super Falcons

 

Days after leading the Super Falcons to once more earn a berth at African women football’s flagship tournament – the Women Africa Cup of Nations – American gaffer Randy Waldrum has informed the NFF that the mission of the current technical staff of the nine-time African champions is to see the team match the world’s best teams yard-for-yard and width-for-width at the most glamorous championships.

The 65-year old, signed on by the Nigeria Football Federation in October 2020 to steer the Falcons to new levels after decades of flagrant domination on the African continent, believes the current squad has the spirit, depth and capacity to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Team USA, Germany, Japan, Norway and Brazil when the die is cast.

The Falcons have been to every single edition of the FIFA World Cup since the competition was launched in 1991, but have only survived group stage attrition on two occasions – in the USA in 1999 and in France 20 years later.

“Our initial mandate as given by the NFF was to qualify the team for the Women AFCON in Morocco. That, we have achieved. However, in the preparation and process, we also had in mind the imperative of building a squad with the strength, stamina and technical balance to give the world’s best teams a good run for their money, anyday and anywhere.

“I am happy that we have qualified for Morocco, where our first goal will be to qualify for the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year summer. We will continue to work on the project, getting young players who are good enough to compete with the old guard and pick the best team always. I like the spirit of the players and their commitment to the cause, and it is an incentive in itself to keep working hard at the project.”

Waldrum, a former American professional soccer player who has coached the USA U23 girls as well as the senior women team of Trinidad and Tobago, underscored his boldness when he handed four players their first caps in the crucial 2022 Women AFCON final qualifying round, first leg match against the Lady Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire in Abuja on 18th February.

Defender Ashleigh Plumptre (who has trained with the Nigeria team since August 2021 but got FIFA go-ahead to represent Nigeria at senior level in December 2021), midfielder Amanda Mbadi and forwards Ifeoma Onumonu and Esther Okoronkwo gave good accounts of themselves on the day.

Plumptre was the heart-throb of the crowd with her strength and savvy in defence, while Onumonu, who plays for Gotham FC in New York, scooped the honours by scoring both goals that handed Nigeria the advantage in the two-leg fixture.

Okoronkwo, who plays for Saint Etienne in France, was the heroine in the return leg, hammering the nail in the coffin of the Ivorians with an 87th-minute goal that sealed a 3-0 aggregate win, after goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie had saved a penalty with 11 minutes left in the first period.

Ageless and tireless stallion Francisca Ordega scored a goal that was ruled out in the opening half, and the fact that the Falcons felt strongly that they were denied a penalty of their own summed up the fact that they gave as much as they received in Abidjan.

The performance ledger was of a different colour from the way they puttered and petered out against the same Ivorians in the race for a spot at the 2020 Olympic Women’s Football Tournament.

Veterans Onome Ebi and Osinachi Ohale also stood firm in defence, with Toni Payne and Rasheedat Ajibade pulling strings in midfield.

Talking about strength-in-depth, another veteran, Rita Chikwelu still have some fire in the middle of the pack, and Uchenna Kanu and Christy Ucheibe can add lustre at the fore on their day.

There are still options like Akudo Ogbonna, Rofiat Imuran, Oluwatosin Demehin, Nicole Payne and Christy Ogbonna in the defence, with veteran Tochukwu Oluehi able to deputise for the fabulous Chiamaka Nnadozie in goal.

In the midfield, Amarachi Okoronkwo can deliver long passes and bullet shots when least expected, and Ngozi Okobi is able to provide penetrating passes that puts the strikers in good steads to deliver. Regina Otu and the Israel-based duo of Yetunde Aluko and Peace Efih are additional ammunition in midfield.

The nifty Gift Monday remains a strong force in attack, and is sure to challenge Onumonu and Okoronkwo for starting places when the team regroups sometimes in April.

The picture is of a New Nigeria squad that is able and blessed in all departments and can achieve great things under a focused technical crew. Waldrum recently handed a fresh two-year contract that will last till after the World Cup in Down Under, has no doubts whatsoever that his team could become one of the world’s very best soonest.

“The girls are bold, inventive and help one another out there on the pitch. It is a good picture that brings good feelings and you have the conviction that this is a team that can do great things.”

FIRST 11: Abramovich Hands Over Chelsea + Last Week’s Biggest Sports Stories

First 11 captures the most important sports stories for the week.

 

It’s now four days since Russia invaded Ukraine. While the military action has continued, sporting activities have also been affected. Chelsea’s owner Roman Abramovich has handed over the club to their board of trustees, becoming one of the biggest sporting impacts of the conflict.

First 11 covers this, the Super Falcon’s qualification for the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations, their delay at the Abuja airport, and other major sports stories last week.

Abramovich Hands Over Chelsea

A file photo of Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich.

 

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich handed over Chelsea to the club’s board of trustees on Saturday.  His move followed sanctions against Russian entities after the invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich is an oligarch, one of the groups targeted by western sanctions. Earlier, UK lawmakers said they were planning to take over Chelsea after linking Abramovich to the Russian state and his reported involvement in corrupt practices.

Russian GP Cancelled

This file photograph taken on September 24, 2021l shows drivers as they steer their cars during the second practice session for the Formula One Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom circuit in Sochi.  Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

 

Apart from this, Formula One authorities also cancelled the Russian Grand Prix billed for September 25 as fighting continued into the second day in the Eastern European nation.

Earlier, world champion Max Verstappen and four-time champion Sebastian Vettel had said they won’t be taking part in the testing in Barcelona, an opposition to driving at the Russian Grand Prix.

UEFA Changes Champions League Host

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows the UEFA logo at the organization's headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
This file photo taken on February 28, 2020, shows the UEFA logo at the organization’s headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

Formula One was not the only sporting body that took a drastic decision since the invasion. Europe’s football governing body moved the Champions League final from Saint Petersburg to Stade de France in France’s capital of Paris. The final will hold on Saturday, May 28, 2022.

‘No To War’ 

A photo combination of Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and Fedor Smolov.

 

During the week, Fedor Smolov became the first Russian footballer to publicly oppose his country’s invasion of  Ukraine. The 32-year-old  Dynamo Moscow took to social media to condemn the action and wrote: “No to war” on Instagram.  A day before that, Ukrainian forward Roman Yaremchuk celebrated a Champions League goal for his Portuguese side Benfica by revealing a shirt bearing his country’s coat of arms.

Elanga Keeps Man U’s Hopes Alive

In this file photo, Manchester United’s players celebrate after Swedish forward Anthony Elanga scored a goal during the UEFA Champions League football match between Atletico de Madrid and Manchester United at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on February 23, 2022. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

In other matches in Europe’s elite competition, Chelsea became one of the first teams to put one leg in the next round. They saw off Lille, 2-0, in the first leg of the last 16 game at Stamford Bridge. Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic scored the goals for the defending champions.

A day later, Anthony Elanga netted a late winner to help Manchester United peg Atletico Madrid. The second-round game ended 1-1. The Spanish side had led for much of the match, thanks to a goal from Joao Felix. But Manchester United stroked home an equaliser with just ten minutes to time, cancelling Felix’s seventh-minute effort. Villareal and Juventus had the same scoreline just as Benfica drew 2-2 with Ajax in other Champions League ties.

Barcelona Outclass Napoli

Barcelona’s Gabonese midfielder Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the UEFA Europa League knockout round play-off second leg football match between SSC Napoli and FC Barcelona at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Naples on February 24, 2022. ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

 

After the Champions League, action returned to Europa League as Barcelona outclassed Napoli to reach the last 16. The Catalans won 4-2 to end the tie 5-3 after the first leg finished 1-1.

“We dominated for 90 minutes and that’s the first time we’ve done that since I became coach,” Xavi told reporters after the match. “It’s a win over a team which I repeat is a Champions League-level team, one which does not concede many goals and is fighting for the league title.”

Falcons Qualify For AWCON

The Super Falcons are the defending African champions. [email protected]

 

At the home front, the Super Falcons of Nigeria qualified for the African Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON). The defending champions beat Ivory Coast 0-1 on Wednesday to end the game on a 3-0 aggregate. It was sweet revenge for the Nigerian girls who had lost to the Lady Elephants in the qualification series for the football event of the Tokyo Olympics.

‘Unfortunate’ Welcome

The Super Falcons were delayed for hours at the airport.

 

But their victory was marred by the controversy that greeted them once they touched down in the country. They were held up at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja over COVID-19 protocols. Officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) demanded that the players and officials undergo a round of routine tests and pay a certain amount of money before. This is despite having done tests less than 24 hours before arrival in Nigeria.

While reacting to the incident, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), apologised to the ladies, describing the development as ‘unfortunate’.

“We are a responsible organization and the various National Teams have been going out and returning to Nigeria since these covid19 protocols, procedures, and guidelines started. We have never been caught napping, “NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi said.

Sanusi added: “It was beyond us, but we have already apologized to our players and officials over this incident.”

‘Jollof’ Derby Gets New Date

(Top L-R) Nigeria’s goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, defender Kenneth Omeruo, forward Taiwo Awoniyi, midfielder Joe Aribo, defender William Troost-Ekong, (bottom L-R) forward Kelechi Iheanacho, defender Ola Aina, defender Zaidu Sanusi, forward Moses Simon and forward Samuel Chukwueze pose prior to the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 round of 16 football match between Nigeria and Tunisia at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 23, 2022. Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO / AFP

 

On the other hand, their male counterpart have their 2022 World Cup play-off date shifted. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) moved the first leg from March 24 to 25 while the return fixture, previously billed for March 27, will take place at the Moshood Abiola (MKO) National Stadium in Abuja on March 29.

 

FIFA Sanctions Kenya, Zimbabwe

FIFA Bans Ex-Zambian Football Chief Bwalya Over Bribery Allegations
FIFA Logo

 

On Thursday, FIFA suspended the Kenyan and Zimbabwean football federations over government interference.

“Without prejudice to investigations by national authorities or other judiciary bodies, the FIFA Council has decided to suspend the Kenya Football Federation and the Zimbabwe Football Federation with immediate effect for undue influence by a third party,” FIFA said in a statement.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said the sanction was due to “government interference in the activities of the football federation”.

“They know what needs to be done for the suspension to be lifted,” he said.

D’Tigress Make Giant Leap

The Nigerian girls are the African champions. Photo: FIBA.

 

Meanwhile, the D’Tigress moved up the FIBA rankings on the back of their impressive showing at the world cup qualifiers. The female team are now 14th on the globe, going one place up from their previous ranking. They are trailing South Korea who are in the 13th position.

Nigeria grabbed their ticket for the competition after two wins in three matches. They had lost to China in their opening tie but victories against France and Mali earned them a spot in Australia.

NFF Congratulates Falcons On AWCON Qualification, Says Airport Incident ‘Unfortunate’

The Super Falcons are the defending African champions. [email protected]

 

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has lauded the Super Falcons for their 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualification just as condemned health officials’ delay of the team on arrival in the country.

In a statement on Thursday, the football body said the team’s feat reflects their resilience and character. It quoted the president of the NFF, Amaju Pinnick, as saying the 1-0 victory over the Ivorians is a replica of the Nigerian spirit.

“We are extremely proud of the resilience, grit, and steel of the Super Falcons in achieving this qualification. Four of the starters in the first leg were winning their first caps for Nigeria, yet put up amazing performances to earn a 2-0 victory,” the statement quoted Pinnick as saying.

“In Abidjan, the players were all awesome and refused to cave in despite the onslaughts from the home team. They did a very good job and deserve commendation for this memorable outing.”

READ ALSO: [World Cup Play-Off] CAF Fixes New Dates For Super Eagles Clash Against Ghana

‘Unfortunate Incident’

The Super Falcons were delayed for hours at the airport.

 

Nigeria’s qualification for the tournament was overshadowed by reports that the players and officials were delayed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on arrival from Abidjan.

In a viral video, players and officials were visibly angry while officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) insisted that they must carry out COVID-19 tests on arrival in the country. But the NFF in its reaction said it was saddened by the development.

“It was an unfortunate incident because we had our protocol officers on ground at the airport and they did the needful before the team arrived. We are a responsible organization and the various National Teams have been going out and returning to Nigeria since these covid19 protocols, procedures, and guidelines started. We have never been caught napping,” NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi said.

According to him, the NFF had no control over how airport officials handled things, stressing that it did everything to ensure the Super Falcons had a hitch-free return to the country.

“It was beyond us, but we have already apologized to our players and officials over this incident,” Sanusi added.

VIDEO: Super Falcons Players, Officials Angry Over Delay At Abuja Airport

 

Players and officials of the Nigeria national women team have expressed anger after they were reported delayed at the Nnamdi Azikwe Airport in Abuja by officials of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC).

In a viral video, officials and players of the Super Falcons can be seen lamenting about how they were treated ‘unfairly’ by the NCDC officials.

One of the Super Falcons players was seen crying while being consoled by her teammates.

The Super Falcons coach Randy Waldrum also could not hide his anger as he described the whole situation as frustrating and complete ‘nonsense’.

READ ALSO: Super Falcons Beat Cote D’Ivoire To Qualify For 2022 Africa Women’s Cup Of Nations

According to reports, the Super Falcons were delayed at the airport despite presenting their COVID-19 test results done less than 24 hours. The officials were said to have insisted that all players and officials must undergo another round of routine tests and pay a certain amount of money before they will be allowed to leave the airport.

The Super Falcons qualified for this year’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, scheduled to hold in Morocco, after defeating their host, the Lady Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire.

Super Falcons Beat Cote D’Ivoire To Qualify For 2022 Africa Women’s Cup Of Nations

File Photo of the Super Falcons.

 

Nigeria have qualified for this year’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations holding in Morocco after the Super Falcons produced a brave performance to defeat the Lady Elephants of Cote D’Ivoire 1-0 in Abidjan.

The result secured an aggregate 3-0 win for the nine-time African champions following Wednesday’s win.  The hosts threw all they had in the return leg encounter at the Stade Robert Champroux but met an unshakable Nigerian defence and an inspired goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie who was outstanding.

Coach Randy Waldrum made two changes to the starting line-up from the first leg, bringing in midfielder Regina Otu and forward Francisca Ordega. The lively Ordega thought she had given Nigeria the lead halfway into the first period but the Nigerien referee ruled it out.

READ ALSO: [World Cup Play-Off] CAF Fixes New Dates For Super Eagles Clash Against Ghana

In the 34th minute, Nigerien referee Zouwaira Souley awarded a penalty to the homers after judging that Ashleigh Plumptre had tripped an Ivorian striker in the Nigerian area. Goalkeeper Nnadozie saved the shot, and the contact from the same player off the rebound went into the side-netting.

The Super Falcons dug their feet into the ground in the second half, refusing to give the Lady Elephants any leeway. Plumptre, Captain Onome Ebi, Osinachi Ohale, and Michelle Alozie all held their ground as the Elephants increased their onslaughts.

A minute to the end, Esther Okoronkwo, winning only her second cap for Nigeria, scored the back-breaker that confirmed a 3-0 aggregate win for the Super Falcons. Victory and qualification for Morocco 2022 was sweet revenge over the Ivorian ladies who stopped the Falcons from qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Defender Ashleigh Plumptre Gets FIFA’s Nod To Represent Nigeria

Ashleigh Plumptre
Ashleigh Plumptre alongside fellow super falcons teammates

 

Former England youth international Ashleigh Plumptre has been cleared by the football regulating body FIFA to represent the Super Falcons of Nigeria.

The Leicester defender had indicated interest to represent the Super Falcons at major tournaments, where she would receive her first unofficial call-up for the national team in July 2021.

The NFF director of communications Ademola Olajire confirmed her clearance in an interview with  BBC Sport Africa, “We are happy to receive Ashleigh’s official clearance from Fifa.”

“It was only possible because of her commitment and dedication. She made the federation’s work a lot easier by providing all the requirements in quick time, Olajire said.

“Ashleigh personally approached the English FA directly to get the required international clearance from that end.

Ashleigh Plumptre
Ashleigh Plumptre alongside fellow super falcons teammates

Plumptre also joins the likes of Michelle Alozie, Patricia George and Nicole, and Toni Payne, who switched allegiances for the nine-time African champions.

Plumptre who is one-quarter Nigerian qualifies to play through her paternal grandfather’s descent

She made an unofficial debut on 23 July 2021, starting in a 1–0 friendly win over Slovenian 1. SŽNL club Olimpija Ljubljana.In November 2021, she attended a training camp in Nigeria.