Super Falcons in Kansas City for friendly cracker with USA
Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor, Abuja
Nine-time African champions, Super Falcons of Nigeria are in the United States of America on a two-match tour with the United States Women’s National Team, with the first of the two matches taking place at the Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas on Saturday, 3rd September.
Both teams, who have qualified for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in Australia and New Zealand, will have a go at each other’s jugular once more at the Audi Field in Washington, D. C. on Tuesday, 6th September.
Coach Randy Waldrum has picked four members of Nigeria’s U20 girls that reached the quarter-finals at the just-concluded FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica, namely defenders Oluwatosin Demehin and Rofiat Imuran, and midfielders Esther Onyenezide and Deborah Abiodun.
Home-based professionals Christy Ohiaeriaku, Akudo Ogbonna and Gift Monday are also in the delegation.
First-choice goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, defender Osinachi Ohale, midfielder Toni Payne and forwards Rasheedat Ajibade and Uchenna Kanu will provide the spine for an interesting Nigeria selection.
The USWNT is the most successful team in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, having won half (4) of all eight championships competed for so far. The Stars & Stripes were champions of the very first edition in China in 1991 and then won on home soil in 1999, in Canada in 2015 and France three years ago. The team has also won four Olympic women’s football gold medals and eight CONCACAF titles.
The Super Falcons have won the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations nine times, played in every edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and also played in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympic women’s football tournaments. They remain the most successful women’s team on the African continent.
The Children’s Mercy Park is home to Kansas City in the US National Women’s Soccer League and Sporting Kansas City in the Major League Soccer, while Audi Field is utilized by National Women’s Soccer League side Washington Spirit and Major League Soccer team, D. C. United.
The match in Kansas City will see Vlatko Andonovski, appointed Coach of USWNT at the end of 2019, return to his home area for the second time. It is the sixth time that the USWNT will be playing at the Children’s Mercy Park but it is their first time at the Audi Field, though they have played 10 times previously in Washington – all at the RFK Stadium.
Andonovski says he’s excited to send out his girls against the Super Falcons: “First, I’m just excited to play two matches against Nigeria. They have some very talented players who will present a lot of different problems for us to solve on both sides of the ball.”
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SUPER FALCONS FOR FRIENDLIES WITH USA:
Goalkeepers: Chiamaka Nnadozie (Paris FC, France); Christy Ohiaeriaku (Edo Queens)
Defenders: Nicole Payne (West Virginia University, USA); Glory Ogbonna (ALG Spor, Turkey); Osinachi Ohale (Deportivo Alaves, Spain); Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash, USA); Akudo Ogbonna (Edo Queens); Oluwatosin Demehin (Rivers Angels)
Midfielders: Jennifer Echegini (Florida State University, USA); Christy Ucheibe (SL Benfica, Portugal); Toni Payne (Sevilla FC, Spain); Amanda Mbadi Uju (Atasehir Belediyespor, Turkey); Deborah Abiodun (Rivers Angels)
Forwards: Rasheedat Ajibade (Atletico Madrid, Spain); Rofiat Imuran (Rivers Angels); Uchenna Kanu (Tigres Femenil, Mexico); Vivian Ikechukwu (WFC Gintra, Lithuania); Ifeoma Onumonu (NY/NJ Gotham FC, USA); Gift Monday (Bayelsa Queens); Esther Onyenezide (FC Robo Queens)
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