With just hours to the kick-off of the expanded Women’s World Cup, intriguing fixtures are already on the card and Nigeria features prominently.
Onome Ebi v Christine Sinclair in Nigeria v Canada
First to be noted is the opening Group B encounter of Nigeria and Canada. This is the encounter of record-makers at the tournament as 40-year old Nigerian captain, Onome Ebi, a central defender will be up against another 40-year old, Christine Sinclair, a striker!
Both are also the captains of their teams. The match comes up on Friday at Melbourne’s Rectangular Stadium.
It is amazing to think that greats of the women’s football such as Julie Dolan, April Heinrichs, Ann Kristin Aarones, Celia Sasic and Nadine Kessler retired in their 20s, and another two are set to ensure that, for the first time in the history of an 11-a-side FIFA competition, players in their 40s will compete against one another.
Ebi and Sinclair will, as captains, shake hands and engage in a pre-match coin toss, before the former begins marking the latter.
Can the ageless Nigerian stop the evergreen Canadian relieving Cristiano Ronaldo and Marta (at least temporarily) of a record and becoming the first player – male or female – to score in six editions of the global finals?
Another eye-catching fixture is in Nigeria’s match-day 2. The super Falcons will face co-hosts, Australia at the Brisbane Stadium One. This will be Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala versus Sam Kerr.
Sam Kerr v Asisat Oshoala in Australia v Nigeria
Australia’s Sam Kerr is astonishingly the only player to have finished top goalscorer in three different leagues on three different continents. Oshoala has astonishingly averaged a goal per game over four-and-a-half celestial seasons at Barcelona.
This is a must-watch, blink-and-you-will-miss-it shootout between two of the greatest markswomen this game has ever produced.