Super Falcons Crash Out Of 2020 Tokyo Olympics Race

 

African champions, the Super Falcons of Nigeria have been eliminated from the race to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics women’s football tournament on Monday after forcing the Les Elephantes of Cote d’Ivoire to a 1-1 draw at the Agege Stadium in Lagos.

Last week Thursday, both teams had settled for a scoreless draw in Abidjan and with today’s result the Ivorians will progress to the penultimate round of the qualification series against Cameroon.

As early as the 6th minute, Nigeria’s Gift Monday rattled goalkeeper Cynthia Djohore only to see her shot pushed away for a corner kick. But the Falcons failed to convert the series of chances that followed.

The visitors took the lead in a most unexpected manner six minutes later, as Nina Kpaho, straight from a free kick on the right, flighted the ball above a poorly–positioned goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie for the opener.

The Super Falcons did not lose steam, and in the 27th minute, skipper Asisat Oshoala should have equalized but watched her shot from a brilliant Gift Monday pass sail over the bar.

Seven minutes later, Nigeria drew level. From a counter-attack, midfielder Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene put Oshoala through with an intelligent pass, and the captain kept her cool to steer the ball past the big Djohore.

In the 45th minute, Francisca Ordega should have done better than heave the ball over the bar from the left.

Six minutes after the restart, Rasheedat Ajibade, gifted with an opportunity just outside the box after Bernadette Amani and Joelle Kouassi missed the ball, could only blast the ball away past Djohore’s left side of goal.

As the match advanced, the Falcons became more desperate as the Ivorians craftily wasted time now and again, and the introduction of Chinaza Uchendu and Folasade Ijamilusi failed to produce the goal that would have taken Nigeria to the next round.

Tokyo 2020: Dennerby Invites 30 Super Falcons For Algeria

Nigeria’s players celebrate after winning the France 2019 Women’s World Cup Group A football match between Nigeria and South Korea, on June 12, 2019.

 

As part of preparation for the first round of the African qualifying race for the Women’s Football Tournament of next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Super Falcons’ Head Coach, Thomas Dennerby has invited 30 players to start a camping programme in Abuja as from Thursday, 8th August.

Nigeria has been drawn to face Algeria in the first round of the qualifying fixtures, with both legs of the fixture to be concluded between 26th August and 3rd September 2019.

READ ALSO: FIFA Team Inspect Ogbe Stadium, Others For U-20 Women’s World Cup

The Nigeria Football Federation has announced that the return leg of fixture, which first leg will be in Algeria, will take place at the Agege Stadium, Lagos – one of the venues inspected by a FIFA team on Tuesday as possible host venue of the 10th FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup that Nigeria is bidding to host next year.

All invited players are expected to arrive at the Abuja camp on Thursday, 8th August 2019.

Goalkeepers: Jonathan Alaba (Bayelsa Queens); Christy Ohiaeriaku (Delta Queens); Tochukwu Oluehi (Rivers Angels); Chiamaka Nnadozie (Rivers Angels)

Defenders: Glory Ogbonna (Ibom Angels); Chidinma Okeke (FC Robo); Abidemi Ibe (Bayelsa Queens); Ugochi Emenayo (Nasarawa Amazons); Margaret Etim (Rivers Angels); Maryam Ibrahim (Nasarawa Amazons); Maureen Okpala (Confluence Queens); Joy Duru (Nasarawa Amazons)

Midfielders: Peace Efih (Rivers Angels); Osarenoma Igbinovia (Bayelsa Queens); Amarachi Okoronkwo (Nasarawa Amazons); Cecilia Nku (Rivers Angels); Adebisi Saheed (Bayelsa Queens); Cynthia Aku (Rivers Angels); Regina Otu (Pelican Stars); Celine Ottah (Bayelsa Queens)

Forwards: Adejoke Ejalonibu (Nasarawa Amazons); Rafiat Sule (Rivers Angels); Joy Bokiri (Bayelsa Queens); Alice Ogebe (Rivers Angels); Nneka Julius (Edo Queens); Tessy Biahwo (Bayelsa Queens); Lola Phillip (Nasarawa Amazons); Celine Ottah (Bayelsa Queens); Rofiat Imuran (Sunshine Queens); Joy Jerry (Bayelsa Queens)

Women’s World Cup: France Defeat Nigeria To Reach Last 16

 

France have defeated Nigeria’s Super Falcons to qualify for the round of 16 of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Wendie Renard’s penalty goal in the 79th-minute goal was all it took for France to edge past the Falcons who put up a brave challenge throughout the clash.

The victory confirmed top spot for France in Group A.

The French needed a point to take first place in the group but Renard gave them all three from the spot at the second attempt after Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie was judged to have encroached for Renard’s first effort, which hit the post.

Norway have also gone through to the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup after beating South Korea 2-1 with two penalties.

Caroline Graham Hansen gave Norway an early lead from the spot after Cho So-Hyun was judged to have grabbed Maria Thorisdottir in the third minute, before winning the decisive second penalty shortly after the break when she was chopped down by Kang Chae-rim.

The Barcelona attacker had to watch while she received treatment on the sidelines as Isabell Herlovsen just squeezed home Norway’s second to secure the points from a nervy encounter and seal second place in Group A, despite Yeo Min-Ji’s poked finish 12 minutes from time.

They also survived a late scare from the impressive Koreans when Min-ji headed a fraction wide in stoppage time.

In the next round, Martin Sjogren’s side will take on one of Italy, Brazil and Australia, who go into the last round of matches in Group C on Tuesday with first place and a potential two further last 16 places up for grabs.

Outsiders Italy need just a point against Brazil to top the group while the Australians can snatch second place if they beat point-less bottom side Jamaica and the Brazilians — in second level on three points with the Aussies — fail to win.

France meanwhile will take on one of the four best third-placed finishers following their 1-0 win, but face the prospect of tackling defending champions the USA in the quarter-finals should the Americans as expected top Group F and win their subsequent last 16 tie.

Germany meanwhile ensured they missed the Americans in the next round after they topped Group B with a perfect nine points following a comprehensive 4-0 win over South Africa earlier on Monday.

It could instead be Spain, who qualify for the next round in second place behind the Germans after a goalless draw with also-through China, to play the world’s best team.

A Captain Named Desire: Nigeria Skipper Relishes France Showdown

 

For Nigeria’s captain Desire Oparanozie, her country’s meeting with hosts France at the women’s World Cup on Monday will be like playing on “home soil”.

“I’m excited playing in France and playing against France as well. I will have a couple of my friends in the French team,” the 25-year-old tells AFP.

This is her third World Cup, and it has a special flavour given she plays her club football in France for Guingamp.

Monday’s match, which is crucial for Nigeria as they seek to join France in the last 16, will be played not far from Guingamp, in Rennes.

“When you’re playing against the host nation, you’re not just playing against 11 players, you’re playing against the crowd,” warned Oparanozie, who helped her team to a 2-0 win over South Korea on Wednesday to claim their first points in Group A.

After a 3-0 loss to Norway in their opening match, that result means the Super Falcons still stand a chance of making it out of their group at a World Cup for the first time in 20 years.

Nigeria may dominate women’s football in Africa, having won 11 out of 13 Cups of Nations, but only once have they got beyond the group stage at the World Cup.

“In past World Cups, we haven’t really done well and we are working very hard to make sure that we qualify from the group stage,” said Oparanozie.

Changes for the better

To help them do that, the Nigerians moved last year to appoint as coach Thomas Dennerby, the Swede who led his home country to third place at the 2011 World Cup.

“He brings a whole lot of positive things in the team. He has a very broad knowledge about women’s football,” said Oparanozie. “We’ve seen a couple of changes since he arrived.”

Among the most important changes were the improved preparations ahead of the tournament.

“We didn’t really have that in the past. But this time is different. We had a couple of quality international friendlies and tournaments.

“We went to China, in Cyprus for the Cyprus Cup and we were also in Spain to play against Canada, so we had a good preparation for this year’s World Cup.”

Another of Dennerby’s decisions was to make Oparanozie the captain, something she describes as “an honour” and “a great privilege”.

“It always comes with a whole lot of expectations, I would say. I mean the players expect a lot from me, the coaches, the federation, the country as a whole,” she said.

Oparanozie left her homeland at the age of just 17 and had spells in Russia, Germany and Turkey, eventually settling in France at Guingamp in 2014.

“It was really hard in the beginning. At that age I missed home a lot, it was cold, the food was different, the culture, the people,” she said of leavingNigeria.

“It was really difficult but looking from where I came from, I wanted to grow in my career, I didn’t have any option other than to try to make a career for myself.”

Charity work

She also had to overcome resistance from within her own family at the idea of becoming a footballer.

“In a typical African home, they think the girls shouldn’t play football, they think it’s a boy’s sport.

“Even in my family, they were against it, but luckily enough I had my father’s support and that’s what helped me to carry on with my career.”

She is now eager to help youngsters who want to follow in her footsteps, and she recently set up her own foundation for boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18.

In July, she will be back in her home town of Owerri, in southern Nigeria, to hold a seminar for several hundred youngsters.

“I organise seminars to encourage them to be whatever they want to be. That’s my own way of giving back.”

AFP

FIFA Women’s World Cup: Norway Beat Nigeria 3-0 In Group Opener

Nigerian players react at the end of the 2019 Women’s World Cup Group A football match between Norway and Nigeria, on June 8, 2019, at the Auguste-Delaune Stadium in Reims, eastern France.
Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

Former champions Norway kicked off their Women’s World Cup campaign with a routine 3-0 victory over Nigeria, despite the absence of Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg.

Guro Reiten’s deflected shot gave the 1995 winners the lead on 17 minutes in Reims before a powerful strike from Lisa-Marie Utland doubled their advantage.

READ ALSO: Oduduru Sets New Nigerian Record, Becomes Second Fastest African

Osinachi Ohale turned a cross into her own net before half-time as Norway cruised to an opening win in Group A, leaving them level on three points with hosts France.

Lyon striker Hegerberg, who scored a hat-trick in Lyon’s Champions League final win over Barcelona last month, refused to come to the tournament due to a dispute with her national federation, which she accuses of failing to respect women players.

AFP

Falcons Begin World Cup Campaign Against Norway

 

The Super Falcons of Nigeria will look to open their campaign at the 2019 FIFA Womens World cup in France on a winning note when they take on Norway tonight in Reims.

Falcons are one of only seven teams to have made it to every edition of the tournament since the inaugural competition in 1991 and have made it out of the group stage only once previously, and that was 20 years ago.

READ ALSO: Hazard Joins Real Madrid On Five-Year Contract

A 2-1 defeat of North Korea and a 2-0 win over Denmark, on either side of a 7-1 defeat by the USA, steered the African champions to the quarterfinals, where they came back from three goals down to draw with Brazil before losing by the golden goal in extra time.

The Falcons’ closest walk to the knockout rounds since then was Germany 2011, where they lost to both France and Germany and then defeated Canada.

Super Falcons To Play Slovakian Top Club

 

Nigerias Super Falcons are to play a Slovakian top division club on Sunday, and not the women national team.

According to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the African champions will now play against ZNK Pomurje Beltinci, which boasts eight players in the Slovakian national squad.

READ ALSO: Nations Cup: Eagles B Team To Play Togo As WAFU Adopts New Format

The Nigeria delegation will depart its Avita Resort camp in Bad Tatzmannsdorf, Austria immediately after lunch on Sunday, and is scheduled to arrive in Beltinci by 2.30pm, for the game starting at 4 pm Slovakia time.

Sundays encounter is the last friendly game for the nine-time African champions before they head off to France on Tuesday, where they will participate in the 8th FIFA Womens World Cup finals starting on Friday next week.

On Tuesday, the Falcons also traveled to Hungary, where they lashed top division club, Halandas Viktoria 5-1 at the Kiraly Sports Centre in Szombathely, with goals from Asisat Oshoala (brace), Chinwendu Ihezuo, Francisca Ordega, and Ogonna Chukwudi.

Buhari Congratulates Super Falcons On WAFU Women’s Cup Victory

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the Super Falcons for winning the West African Football Union (WAFU) women’s cup.

Buhari in a statement on Sunday by his media aide, Garba Shehu, hailed the Falcons “for putting up a superlative performance that saw them emerging as 2019 WAFU Women’s Cup Champions, with an unbeaten record throughout the tournament.”

The President noted that the victory was recorded against Ivorian Dame Elephants at the finals of the championship, over what he described as “their fighting spirit and resplendent skills evidenced in team work, discipline and focus.”

READ ALSO: African Football Legends Honour Ambode In Testimonial Match

While commending the female national team, Buhari also extolled “all officials and management of the team, led by Thomas Dennerby, for their sacrifice, commitment and diligence in winning the championship.”

He however urged them both officials and players to remain focused ahead of the forthcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, stressing that they should unleash the same zeal in the global tournament.

Falcons Beat Ghana 4-2 On Penalties

Super Falcons

Nigeria’s Super Falcons have qualified for the final of the WAFU Women’s Cup in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivore.

In a rematch of last year’s clash at the same stage, Coach Thomas Dennerby’s side defeated the Black Queens of Ghana 4-2 on penalties after playing goalless in regulation time.

READ ALSO: Christian Chukwu Arrives In UK For Treatment

Nigeria will take on the host nation, Cote D’Ivoire in the championship decider on Saturday after they beat Mali 2-1 in the other semi-final clash.

Dennerby Names Provisional Falcons Squad For Women’s World Cup

Nigeria’s woman football team head coach Thomas Dennerby gestures during a match between Niger and Nigeria in the second West African Football Union (WAFU) zone B women’s tournament at The Parcs des Sports in Abidjan on May 11, 2019.
ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

 

Nigeria coach Thomas Dennerby named a squad of 27 players for a final training camp in Austria ahead of next month’s women’s World Cup in France.

The bulk of the group is from the team who won a record 11th African women’s championship in Ghana last year.

Three-time African Player of the Year Asisat Oshoala from Barcelona who is set to feature in this weekend’s Champions League final as well as France-based striker Desire Oparanozie is in the squad.

The team will leave Abuja for Austria on May 20 for the Avita Resort in Bad Tatzmannsdorf – the same facility where their male counterparts, the Super Eagles, had their final base before the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

READ ALSO: Champions League Glory Would Transform Tottenham – Pochettino

The Super Falcons will leave Austria on June 4 directly for Reims, where they open their World Cup campaign against Norway four days later.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Tochukwu Oluehi (Rivers Angels), Alaba Jonathan (Bayelsa Queens), Chiamaka Nnadozie (Rivers Angels), Christy Ohiaeriaku (Confluence Queens)

Defenders: Osinachi Ohale (Vaxjo/SWE), Ngozi Ebere (Arna Bjornar/NOR), Onome Ebi (Henan Huisanhang/CHN), Josephine Chukwunonye (Kungsbacka/SWE), Faith Michael (Pitea/SWE), Chidinma Okeke (FC Robo)

Midfielders: Cecilia Nku (Ferencvaros/HUN), Rita Chikwelu (Krstianstand/SWE), Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene (Eskiltuna United/SWE), Evelyn Nwabuoku (Rivers Angels), Ogonna Chukwudi (Djurgardens/SWE), Halimatu Ayinde (Eskiltuna United/SWE), Amarachi Okoronkwo (Nasarawa Amazons)

Forwards: Desire Oparanozie (Guingamp/FRA), Anam Imo (Malmo/SWE), Asisat Oshoala (Barcelona/ESP), Chinaza Uchendu (Braga/POR); Uchenna Kanu (Southeastern University, USA), Rasheedat Ajibade (Alvadsnes/NOR), Francisca Ordega (Shanghai W. FC/CHN), Ini-Abasi Umotong (Brighton/ENG), Alice Ogebe (Rivers Angels)

AFP

WAFU Cup: Falcons Beat Niger 15-0 To Reach Semi-Finals

 

Nigeria’s Super Falcons recorded a 15-0 victory against cross-border neighbours, Niger Republic at the group stage of the 2019 WAFU Women’s Cup of Nations in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

The victory secured a spot at the semi-finals of the sub-regional tournament for the nine-time African champions.

READ ALSO: Dortmund Win Fortuna 3-2, Extends Title Race With Bayern To Season Finale

The Nigerian team had hit nine past Niger by half time, putting Thomas Dennerby’s Falcons in cruise control.

The second half saw the team slow down on the goal-scoring, after hitting six to increase the tally to 15 goals.

The Nigerian women football team will face Mali in their last group game on Monday, May 13, 2019.

WAFU Cup: Super Falcons to play Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso

December To Remember: Falcons Arrive In Abuja As Nigerians Praise Team
Super Falcons arrive in Abuja on December 2, 2018, after beating South Africa at the 2018 AWCON final. Photo: [email protected]

 

African champions Nigeria have been drawn against Burkina Faso, Niger Republic and Mali in group B of the 2019 WAFU ‘B’ Women’s Tournament taking place in Abidjan in May. 

Host nation Cote d’Ivoire, alongside Togo, Senegal and Ghana will battle things out in Group A.

The tournament which will hold from 8 – 18 next month will serve as the last preparatory competition for the Super Falcons before they fly to their final camp in Austria ahead of the 8th FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in France.

Already, the Falcons have participated in tune-up tournaments in China, Cyprus and Spain, and pundits already rate the Class of 2019 as the side that has been afforded the best preparation for the World Cup finals by the nation’s football governing body.

READ ALSO: U17 AFCON: Eaglets Target World Cup Ticket With Victory Against Angola

After the WAFU B tournament, the Falcons will spend two weeks at the Avita Resort in Bad Tatzmannsdorf in Austria putting finishing touches to their preparations, before arriving in France.

The nine-time African champions are up against Norway at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims on June 8, before facing the Korea Republic at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble on June 12 and host nation France at the Roazhon Park in Rennes on June 17.

WAFU B WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT 2019

GROUP A: Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Senegal, Ghana

GROUP B: Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Niger Republic, Mali