Midfielder Esther Onyenezide, who impressed at last year’s FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup finals in Costa Rica as Nigeria reached the quarter-finals, has been drafted to take the place of 2023 FIFA World Cup star Halimatu Ayinde in Nigeria’s squad for the 2024 Women Olympic Football Tournament fixture against Ethiopia’s senior women’s national team.
The delegation of home-based players and technical and backroom staff from Nigeria flew into Addis Ababa on Sunday for Wednesday’s opening leg encounter at the Abebe Bekila Stadium, and the foreign-based players have started arriving for the big match as well. The Super Falcons will host the second leg of the second-round fixture at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja on Tuesday, 31st October 2023.
Midfielder Regina Otu, who missed the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in Australia and New Zealand in the summer, and defender Osinachi Ohale who plays for Pachuca FC of Mexico, have been ruled out of the fixture. Another World Cup star, Christy Ucheibe, of Portuguese club SL Benfica, is also out of the encounter.
The winner on aggregate will confront the winner of the fixture between Cameroon and Uganda. The Indomitable Lionesses drew a bye, while Uganda overpowered Rwanda 4-3 on aggregate.
Ethiopia’s senior girls, nicknamed Lucy, turned back the senior women national team of Chad 10-0 in the first round of the series, played in the month of July. The Ethiopians won the first leg 6-0 in Addis Ababa on 13th July, before lashing their hosts 4-0 in N’Djamena five days later.
Super Falcons to battle Ethiopia:
Goalkeepers: Chiamaka Nnadozie (Paris FC); Tochukwu Oluehi (Shualat Alsharqia FC, Saudi Arabia); Monle Oyono (Bayelsa Queens)
Defenders: Comfort Folorunsho (Edo Queens); Oluwatosin Demehin (Stade de Reims, France); Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash, USA); Nicole Payne (Paris Saint Germain, France); Jumoke Alani (Edo Queens); Rofiat Imuran (Stade de Reims, France)
Midfielders: Esther Onyenezide (FC Robo Queens); Peace Efih (Sporting Club de Braga, Portugal); Rasheedat Ajibade (Atletico Madrid FC, Spain); Toni Payne (Sevilla FC, Spain)
Forwards: Omorinsola Babajide (Coasta Adeje Tenerife Egatesa, Spain); Ifeoma Onumonu (NY/NJ Gotham FC, USA); Asisat Oshoala (FC Barcelona Feminine, Spain); Uchenna Kanu (Racing Louisville, USA); Opeyemi Ajakaye (FC Robo Queens)