THE FIFA U-20 Women World Cup-bound Falconets will resume camping in Abuja on Sunday with 35 players coming top vie for positions in the team.
According to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the girls, who swept past Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic of Congo in the African qualifying series to reach the finals billed for Japan later in the year, will be camped at Serob Legacy Hotel, Abuja.
In the African qualifiers, the Falconets scored 13 goals without conceding any, a feat that put the side in good psychological mood to excel in Japan. Inspirational skipper Gloria Ofoegbu tops the list of 35 players from which coach Edwin Okon will pick his final list for the tourney holding from August 19 to September 8.
The Falconets is drawn in Group B of the four-group preliminary phase alongside Korea Republic, Brazil and Italy. Nigeria first plays the Koreans in Saitama on August 19 before taking on Brazil in the same city three days later and then Italy, in Kobe on August 26.
Kobe’s dainty and exquisite World Cup Stadium was the venue for the Super Eagles’ clash with Sweden at the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals, which the Eagles lost 1-2 after taking a first-half lead through Julius Aghahowa. The cities of Tokyo, Kobe, Miyagi, Saitama and Hiroshima will host the sixth edition of the FIFA U-20 Women World Cup finals.
The invited players include Gloria Ofoegbu, Josephine Chukwunonye, Ebere Orji, Uchechi Sunday, Francisca Ordega, Ebubeleye Whyte, Jennifer Osawaru, Ugo Njoku, Grace Eyebhoria, Chidinma Okoro (Rivers Angels), Ugochi Okafor, Chioma Nwankwo, Stella Henry, Blessing Edoho, and Bukola Ogunnoiki (Pelican Stars).
Others are Cecilia Nku, Charity Adule (Bayelsa Queens) Desire Oparanozie, Ngozi Okobi, Jane David (Delta Queens), Asisat Oshoala (FC Robo), Lola Philips, Fasilat Adeyemo (Confluence Queens), Esther Sunday, Damilola Akano (Sunshine Queens), Prudent Ugoh (Nasarawa Amazons), Vivian Okotie, Osarenoma Igbinovia (Inneh Queens) and Juliana Osuji (Nitto Queens).
Also in the list are Abosede Olukayode, Charity Elibor (Cerezo Queens), Tina Chinyere (FCT Queens), Ayeniberun Opeyemi, Rosemary Okoro (Tokas Queens) and Chiamaka Okafor (Tewo Queens).
Super Falcons Will Soar Beyond Africa
Super Falcons assistant coach Samuel Unuanel has said that his team is capable of defending the African Women’s Champion(AWC) title when the competition begins later this year in Equatorial Guinea.
He also said they are focusing in building a formidable team that would surprise the world in the nearest future. The six times African Women’s Champion defeated the Warriors of Zimbabwe 6-0 on aggregation to qualify for the forthcoming AWC.
The Ocean Boys Chief Coach who stood in for an indisposed coach Kadiri Ikhana against Banyana Banyana of South African in a international friendly game last Saturday at the Teslim Balogun stadium, expressed his delight on the performance of his players despite drawing with the South Africans .
“The team have what it takes to rule Africa and the World under the tutelage of Kadiri Ikhana. I’m happy with the development of the team and I think with more friendly matches and hard work, I see them ruling Africa again.
For now, we want to blend the foreign-based players with the local ones and I believe before the event we will have a strong team,” he assured.
Chiejine Calls For Early Preparation
Former Super Falcons goalkeeper Ann Chiejine has called for early preparations ahead of the forthcoming Africa Women’s Champion,AWC, slated for Equatorial Guinea later in the year.
Chiejine who believes Falcons would do better in the Championship if there are more friendly matches organised for the team, praised the team for their performance in the international friendly against the Banyana Banyana of South Africa.
Speaking with Saturday Vanguard Sports at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos last Saturday, the former Falcons captain said, “early preparation is the key if we must succeed in the forthcoming AWC.
“So far, there has been an improvement in the team but there is the need for more work in order to ensure tremendous change and credible performance in the competition. At least five or more friendly matches should be organized for the team ahead of the competition as it will help them improve in their performance,” she said.
By Kate Obodo