The General Secretary of Nigeria Football Federation, Dr Mohammed Sanusi at the weekend charged the Super Falcons to work as a team and bring their A-game to Tuesday’s 2024 Olympics second round, second leg qualifier against Ethiopia at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
Sanusi spoke after watching the nine-time African champions train at the Turf Arena in the Federal Capital, and also reminded players and officials that Nigeria has been absent from the past three Women Olympic Football Tournaments and this certainly does no credit to the country’s rating as a leading global power in women’s football.
“The whole world still talks about how you captivated everyone at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand during the summer. The Government of Nigeria, the NFF and all stakeholders remain very proud of you. The NFF loves you and is happy with your outing and general conduct at the World Cup, on and off the field of play.
“Now, it is time to destroy this vexed issue of Olympics jinx. The last time you attended the Olympics was in 2008, in China. That was a long time ago. Missing three consecutive tournaments is enough; we have to take our place in Paris. I am happy with your game in Addis Ababa and I know you have the capacity to finish off the job here in Abuja on Tuesday.”
The Falcons trained at the Turf Arena on Friday and Saturday before moving to the MKO Abiola National Stadium on Sunday. On Monday, both the Falcons and visiting ‘Lucy’ will have their official training sessions on the turf of the magnificent arena.
Captain Rasheedat Ajibade’s screaming half volley flew past the opposing goalkeeper for Nigeria’s equalizer six minutes into the second half at the Abebe Bikila Stadium on Wednesday, to restore parity after the home team bundled home from a corner kick in the sixth minute.
Ajibade, Toni Payne, Gift Monday, goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, Omorinsola Babajide, Esther Onyenezide, Oluwatosin Demehin, Peace Efih, and Michelle Alozie all looked very sharp in training, though Alozie was sometimes given time off to recover from the slight disorientation caused by a late knock to the face during the first leg.
The winner over two legs will take on the winner of the Cameroon/Uganda fixture in the third round of the series. Uganda, who narrowly eliminated Rwanda in the first round, are in the ascendancy after defeating the Indomitable Lionesses 2-0 in Kampala on Thursday
Lucy’s delegation, match officials land in Abuja
The delegation of Ethiopia’s senior women national team arrived in Abuja on Sunday, ahead of Tuesday’s Paris 2024 Olympics second round, second leg qualifying match against the Super Falcons.
The 35-person delegation flew into the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport just after noon on Sunday aboard an Ethiopian Airways flight.
Also in Nigeria’s Federal Capital is the squad of match officials, led by Christine Ziga from Ghana, who will serve as the match commissioner. There is also referee Edoh Kindedji from Togo, with her compatriots Abra Sitsofe Agbedanou and Kossiwa Kayigan Awoutey who will serve as assistant referee 1 and assistant referee 2 respectively. Yacine Samassa from Mauritania will be in the role of fourth official.
Daloba Oulare from Guinea will be the referee assessor.