Paris 2024 Qualifiers: Super Falcons motivated to end winless streak against Banyana Banyana

Nigeria’s senior women’s national team are extra-motivated for the final round of Paris 2024 Olympic Qualifiers against South Africa.

The Super Falcons have not beaten the Banyana Banyana in regulation time for many years now, and have watched as the South Africans carted away the Women Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) trophy in Morocco last year after the Banyana edged them 2-1 in a group phase match.

Nine-time African champions, Nigeria still call the shots at that level though, with nine of 12 titles contested so far, and with a squad brimming with youth and experience, and the bounce of having been Africa’s best performer at the last World Cup finals – unbeaten in regulation time until their exit via penalty shootout defeat to England.

In 2018 when they won their ninth title, the Banyana were the victims after a penalty shootout at the Accra Sports Stadium.

Both legs of the fixture are of potentially explosive quality.

Nigeria will bank on the bravery of goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, a rearguard expected to include World Cup stars Osinachi Ohale and Michelle Alozie (and perhaps returnee Chidinma Okeke and newbie Oladipo), a midfield of no-nonsense duo of Halimatu Ayinde and Christy Ucheibe (spiced with the nifty Ajibade and the slicky Deborah Abiodun) and a fore-line of Esther Okoronkwo and Uchenna Kanu (with Gift Monday, Omorinsola Babajide and returnee Chiwendu Ihezuo also available).

FALCONS FOR OPERATION BANG BANYANA:

Goalkeepers: Chiamaka Nnadozie (Paris FC); Tochukwu Oluehi (Shualat Alsharqia FC, Saudi Arabia); Linda Jiwuaku (Bayelsa Queens)

Defenders: Osinachi Ohale (Pachuca Club de Futbol, Mexico); Jumoke Alani (Edo Queens); Shukurat Oladipo (FC Robo Queens); Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash, USA); Nicole Payne (Portland Thorns FC, USA); Chidinma Okeke (Mynavi Sendai Ladies, Japan)

Midfielders: Deborah Abiodun (University of Pittsburgh, USA); Halimatu Ayinde (FC Rosengard, Sweden); Christy Ucheibe (SL Benfica, Portugal); Jennifer Echegini (Juventus Ladies, Italy); Rasheedat Ajibade (Atletico Madrid FC, Spain); Toni Payne (Sevilla FC, Spain)

Forwards: Omorinsola Babajide (Costa Adeje Tenerife Egatesa, Spain); Esther Okoronkwo (Changchun FC, China); Ifeoma Onumonu (SLC Utah, USA); Asisat Oshoala (Bay FC, USA); Uchenna Kanu (Racing Louisville, USA); Gift Monday (Costa Adeje Tenerife Egatesa, Spain); Chiwendu Ihezuo (Pachuca Club de Futbol, Mexico)