Falcons, Banyana Lock Horns In Abuja For Paris Olympic Ticket

Nigeria’s Super Falcons will lock horns with their South African counterparts, Banyana Banyana, at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja on Friday for the first leg of their final qualifying playoff of the 2024 Paris Olympic Women’s Football Tournament.

Both countries, with stellar talents in the women’s game, are arguably among the best in the world at the moment, therefore, it is a battle between two of the best national female sides on the African continent.
While the South Africans are the reigning African champions, Super Falcons dominated women’s football for most of the last four decades, winning nine of 11 African Championships and appearing at every edition of the World Cup.

On Monday, the South African High Commission started active mobilization of South Africans living in Nigeria to come and support the reigning African champions.Just as NFF’s general-secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, on Wednesday, called on residents of Abuja and environs, and even in the neighbouring states, to storm the MKO Abiola Stadium in their thousands to cheer the Falcons to victory.

Coach Randy Waldrum is most likely to stick to his tested-and-trusted World Cup rearguard, including goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie and defenders Michelle Alozie and Osinachi Ohale. In the absence of the injured Oluwatosin Demehin and Ashleigh Plumptre, Alozie could move to left back to give returnee Chidinma Okeke the space on the right, with youngster Shukurat Oladipo likely to pair Osinachi in the centre.

Hard-as-nails Halimatu Ayinde and Christy Ucheibe will spearhead the midfield, with Captain Rasheedat Ajibade and the slippery Deborah Abiodun providing the guile and flamboyance. Uchenna Kanu, Esther Okoronkwo, Jennifer Echegini, Rinsola Babajide, Gift Monday, Asisat Oshoala and the returnee Chiwendu Ihezuo are all options in the attack.

For sure, Coach Desire Ellis also has dependable weapons in her armoury, not least of them the nimble-footed Thembo Kgatlana, as well as Jermain Seoposenwe, both based in Mexico. There’s also the crafty Hildah Magaia, as well as midfielders Linda Motlhalo, Jane Refiloe and Nomvula Kgoale.
“We want our people to come to the stadium and support us. The Super Falcons do not fear any team. With their support, we will play with total confidence and overcome,” said goalkeeper Nnadozie.
The return leg will take place at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria on Tuesday evening.


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