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Wounded Falcons seek redemption against plucky Botswana

By Christian Okpara
07 July 2022   |   4:13 am
It’s crunch time in Rabat, Morocco. Nigeria’s Super Falcons face a must-win game against a Botswana team riding on a wave of success at the ongoing Morocco 2022 African Women Nations Cup.

Super Falcons will battle Botswana in their second group game at Morocco 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations…today

It’s crunch time in Rabat, Morocco. Nigeria’s Super Falcons face a must-win game against a Botswana team riding on a wave of success at the ongoing Morocco 2022 African Women Nations Cup.

Nigeria lost its opening game 1-2 to South Africa, while Botswana were masterly in their 4-2 defeat of Burundi. Now, the least Nigeria needs is a draw against The Mares, which would boost them to play for a win in their last group game against Burundi on Sunday.

However, for nine-time African champions, nothing short of victory will assuage the feelings of their fans, who are still reeling from their underwhelming performance against Banyana Banyana last Monday.

The Super Falcons will be without the injured Asisat Oshoala, who hurt her knee in the game against South Africa. She has been ruled out of the championship completely.

But the good news for Nigeria is that in Monday Gift and Vivian Ikechukwu, the Super Falcons have capable legs to step into Oshoala’s shoes in the Group C clash.

According to thenff.com, Oshoala sustained a Grade 3 Medial Ligament strain and would be out of action for between two and three weeks, with another one or two weeks period for recovery.

She is due to fly out of Morocco today after medics at her club, FC Barcelona Feminine, advised that she return to Spain.

Team Captain, Onome Ebi, yesterday, appealed to Nigerians to continue supporting them, saying the loss to South Africa is a wake up call for the team.

“We feel bad to have lost the opening match, and against South Africa for that matter, but we have been able to put that behind us. We resolved immediately after the match that we will give what it takes to win all remaining games.

“There is no need for too many words. All we want to do is get the win against Botswana to restore our confidence, and then we can take things from there,” Ebi said yesterday.

First choice goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie returns against the Botswanans after missing the first match due to suspension, and the forced departure of Asisat Oshoala means the vibrant Gift Monday or Mexico-based Uchenna Kanu will start in the fore for the nine-time champions.

Midfield ace Rasheedat Ajibade, who scored the goal against the South Africans, is expected to again be the pivot as the Falcons search for early goals as from 9pm at the Prince Moulay Al-Hassan Stadium.

Coach Randy Waldrum could ring changes in some departments, with Glory Ogbonna likely to take her place at left back to allow the energetic Ashleigh Plumptre return to her accustomed role at centre-back alongside Captain Ebi, while Osinachi Ohale moves to right back.

While Nigerians are hoping for a win in Rabat, The Mares of Botswana say they want to win to consolidate their top position on Group C table.

President of the Botswana Football Association, MacLean Letshwiti, yesterday, boasted that The Mares now know how to beat Nigeria after watching the Falcons against Banyana Banyana.

He said: “The Ladies’ thrilling performances (against Burundi) demonstrated beyond doubt that together we can achieve. I therefore humbly urge the Ladies to continue to show their mettle against the best in Africa. A re kgotetseng.