The Super Falcons of Nigeria will open their 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign on saturday when they trade tackles with the Grasshoppers of Norway.
After failing to make it past the group stage in their previous four World Cup appearance, Nigeria will be hoping to kick-off on a good note by winning their opening match.
Nigeria have had good preparations for the women’s mundial as they featured in the Meizhou Four Nation Tournament, the Cyprus Cup, and had a training camp in Spain, where they played a friendly against Canada before their final preparations in Austria.
Since the appointment of Thomas Dennerby, the Swede has tried to instil some order in the attack and tried to make the players work together while still trying to maintain the verve and pace of the forward line.
The team now plays with a 4-5-1 that easily morphs into a 4-4-2 when Rasheedat Ajibade starts, the pace and agility of Barcelona forward Asissat Oshoala, strength and poise of Desire Oparanozie, and the creativity of Francisca Ordega are pivotal to the team’s forward play.
Their opponents, Norway are in good form ahead of the match as they bid for a second World Cup success. They obliterated South Africa in their final warm up game and sealed the Algarve Cup title with a 3-0 win over Poland this year.
Norway will be missing the world’s best player in Ada Hegerberg, who is sitting out the tournament after a highly publicized protest against equality in the game.
The Scandinavian country are currently ranked 12th in the World and will be one of the contenders for the title. Granted, their Ballon d’Or winning striker, wont be present, but they boast considerable firepower in the form of Isabell Herlovsen, who will be a menace to Nigeria’s backline.
Fact: Rasheedat Ajibade, one of the brightest young stars in the team, is also an accomplished freestyler. She won the first edition of the Nigeria National Freestyle Championship and retained the title in September 2018. Apart from freestyling, Ajibade has also had success as a rollerblader, winning the Lagos state skating championship.
• Thomas Dennerby (Nigeria)
• Martin Sjögren (Norway)
Date, Time and Venue of the match:
- June 8th, 2019
- 8:00pm (Nigerian time)
- Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims.