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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Colombia 2024: Falconets Intensify Training Ahead Clash With Burundi On Sunday –

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Algeria’s Under-20 Coach Slaps His Own Players On The Pitch -

Nigeria’s U20 girls have intensified their general preparations for Sunday’s FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup final qualifying round, first leg encounter against the U20 girls of Burundi, with another training session in Dar es Salaam on Friday afternoon.

 

Sunday’s match at the Azam Stadium Complex in the Tanzanian capital will kick off at 4pm Tanzania time (2pm Nigeria time), with the winner over two legs qualifying as one of Africa’s four flag-bearers at this year’s FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup finals in Colombia. The final tournament has been scheduled for 30th August – 22nd September.

 

The Falconets, ever-present at the finals since the competition was launched in Canada in 2002, reached the quarter-finalists at the last edition in Costa Rica, and are much-fancied to brush aside the Burundian challenge and pick another World Cup ticket.

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Nigeria’s delegation arrived in Dar es Salaam – which is hosting the match as Burundi does not have an approved stadium for international games – on Wednesday and players immediately shook off the jet lag with a light training session. They also trained on Thursday.

 

The team is looking forward to Saturday’s official training at the match venue – the same venue where they drew 1-1 with Tanzania’s U20 girls in their last round of the qualifiers, before sealing qualification to this stage with a 2-1 defeat of the Tanzanian girls in Abuja in the return leg.

 

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Head Coach Chris Musa Danjuma and his crew travelled with 19 players, led by Captain Oluchi Ohaegbulem, and also including goalkeeper Faith Omilana, defenders Jumoke Alani and Shukurat Oladipo, midfielders Taiwo Afolabi and Chima Olise, and forwards Chiamaka Okwuchukwu, Opeyemi Ajakaye and Janet Akekoromowei.

 

FALCONETS IN BURUNDI

 

Goalkeepers: Anderline Mgbechi; Shukura Bakare; Faith Omilana

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Defenders: Oluchi Ohaegbulem; Jumoke Alani; Rebecca Adegbemile; Shukurat Oladipo; Oluwabunmi Oladeji

 

Midfielders: Adoo Yina; Taiwo Afolabi; Olushola Shobowale; Aminat Folorunsho; Chioma Olise

 

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Forwards: Opeyemi Ajakaye; Chiamaka Okwuchukwu; Chisom Chima; Janet Akekoromowei; Chiamaka Osuigwe; Oluwayemisi Samuel

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Banyana Banyana rewards player for 100th cap despite Olympic failure

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The South African Football Association (SAFA) on Tuesday awarded Banyana Banyana right back, Lebohang Ramalepe a 100th cap milestone jersey  despite the disappointing goalless draw with Nigeria’s Super Falcon.

The result meant that South Africa lost out to Nigeria in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games qualification on a 1-0 aggregate.

The skillful Ramalepe who plays as a defender was part of the  Women’s Africa Cup of Nations Banyana Banyana winning squad, as well as the side that finished in the Round of 16 at the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup.

For Nigeria, it will be the fourth time at the Olympics after the editions of 2000, 2004 and 2008.

 

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Rasheedat Ajibade scored Nigeria’s first winning goal against South Africa in eight years –

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Rasheedat Ajibade scored Nigeria’s first winning goal against South Africa in eight years -

When Captain of the side, Rasheedat Ajibade scored from a 43rd minute penalty kick and gave Nigeria a 1-0 win over South Africa in a Paris 2024 Olympics qualifier in Abuja on Friday, it was the first time that the Super Falcons had beaten the Banyana Banyana since their 1-0 win at the  Women’s Africa Cup of Nations o 29 November 2016 in Limbe, Cameroon.

Ever since, the encounters have been tight and regulation time scorelines had been in South Africa’s favour.

In their next encounter after 2016, South Africa shocked Super Falcons 1-0 in a Group a Group B match of WAFCON in Cape Coast, Ghana. They eventually played goalless in the final match and Nigeria excelled 4-3 on penalties.

The next two encounters in 2021 and 2022 ended in victories for South Africa.

 

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Nigeria Mobilises Against South Africa –

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Nigeria Mobilises Against South Africa -

The General Secretary of Nigeria Football Federation, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi has implored Nigerians based in the Federal capital, Abuja and environs, and indeed from neighbouring States, to troop out in large numbers to the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Friday to support the Super Falcons in their Women’s Olympic Football Tournament African final qualifying, first leg game against South Africa.

Nine-time African champions Nigeria and reigning African champions South Africa clash in a potentially-explosive affair in Nigeria’s magnificent sporting facility as from 5pm on Friday. The return leg is due for Pretoria’s high altitude arena, Loftus Versfeld on Tuesday next week.

Girls are ready – Uchenna Kanu and Halimatu Ayinde at training on Wednesday.

“The NFF is calling on Nigerians from all over the Federal Capital Territory and the neighbouring States, and indeed from all over Nigeria, to come out in their tens of thousands to cheer the Super Falcons to victory in the match against South Africa.

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“This is a big match by all standards. We are specially appealing to our people to come en masse and support the Super Falcons. It is important for us to get a big win here in order to be in good stead before flying to South Africa. A handsome win here will bolster our ladies with the confidence and mentality to overcome in Pretoria,” Sanusi said.

 

Nigeria has not participated in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament since 2008, when the Falcons lost all three matches in the group phase in China.

 

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Captain Rasheedat Ajibade said on Wednesday that the objective of Africa’s leading women’s team, the Falcons, remains the same right from the beginning of the qualifiers.

 

“From the time we played Ethiopia, we have been committed to seeing these qualification series through. Our objective has always been to win a slot to the Olympics. Most of us are yet to play in the Olympics and it is a big issue with us. We want to be there in Paris.

 

“There are a couple of issues the Super Falcons have to sort out with Banyana Banyana, really. However, that is not the motivation this time. The motivation is qualifying for the Olympics.”

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Nigeria emerged Africa’s top team at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand eight months ago, unbeaten in regulation time before exiting at the Round of 16 courtesy of penalty shootout defeat by England.

 

As at lunchtime on Wednesday, captain Ajibade and 20 other players were in the Super Falcons’ camp, and the team had a first training session at the MKO Abiola Stadium on Wednesday morning.

 

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The Banyana Banyana delegation arrived in Nigeria on Sunday.

 

In Camp:

 

Goalkeepers: Chiamaka Nnadozie, Tochukwu Oluehi, Linda Jiwuaku

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Defenders: Jumoke Alani, Osinachi Ohale, Chidinma Okeke, Shukurat Oladipo, Michelle Alozie, Nicole Payne

 

Midfielders: Rasheedat Ajibade, Toni Payne, Deborah Abiodun, Jennifer Echegini, Christy Ucheibe, Halimatu Ayinde

 

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Forwards: Uchenna Kanu, Gift Monday, Omorinsola Babajide, Ifeoma Onumonu, Esther Okoronkwo, Chiwendu Ihezuo

 

 

 

 

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