Super Falcons To Train Tuesday At AWCON Qualifier Vs Gambia Venue

The Super Falcons of Nigeria will today (Tuesday) have their first official training on the Independence Stadium, Bakau, venue of the first leg of their 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifying tie against Gambia on Wednesday.

Reigning Africa women’s champions, Super Falcons, flew into Gambia on Monday and have been training at the FIFA Goal Project (Technical Training Centre) in Banjul.

The winner between the Super Falcons and Gambia over two legs will qualify for this year’s AWCON holding in Ghana.

“Later this evening by 4pm (5pm Nigerian time), we will have a feel of the Independence Stadium, Bakau, venue of our AWCON 2018 qualifier showdown with Gambia on Wednesday.

“If you’re in the Gambia capital, please be there,” the Super Falcons official Twitter handle wrote.

The return leg of the AWCON qualifier between the Super Falcons and Gambia comes up on Monday, June 11.

The 2018 AWCON which will start on November 17 and end December 1, will serve as qualifiers for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

Ghana 2018: Falcons’ Coach Confirms 10 Foreign Pros For Gambia Clash

Super Falcons’ Head Coach, Thomas Dennerby has confirmed that no fewer than ten foreign professionals will be included in the team’s squad for the upcoming final round of qualifiers for the African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) 2018 against the Gambia next month.

The Swedish coach did initially release a list of 26 players, consisting mainly of locally based players with the exemption of Ngozi Ebere for the first phase of camping which commenced last week in Abuja.

However, Dennerby has now stated that only 10 will be selected to join the Europe-based players for the must-win encounter.

“This is not the final squad that will play the Gambia, it’s just a camp for the home-based players. The foreign professionals will come in later; Ngozi Ebere will come in before the end of this week and the others will start arriving from the 28th of May.

“We want to have a blend of local and foreign-based players so 10 from here and maybe 10 or 11 from those abroad,” Dennerby added.

The Falcons’ coach further gave an update on the players in camp, saying he and his coaching crew will continue to monitor them closely.

“The players have been performing well; we don’t have a full house yet because we just have 18 players currently. We will continue to monitor them closely before deciding the final squad for the Gambia match.

Reigning champions Nigeria will take on the Gambia for a place in the main tournament in Ghana, with the first leg slated to take place on the 2nd of June in Banjul before Nigeria hosts the second leg two weeks later.

Sweden-Based Super Falcons Stars Arrive Paris For France Friendly

Six Sweden-based Super Falcons players have flown into Paris for Friday’s friendly game against France

The Super Falcons Twitter account revealed that the players move to Le Mans, venue of the friendly, with the rest of their teammates who are on their way from Nigeria.

“Our six Sweden-based players – captain Rita Chikwelu, Oshinachi Ohale, Ngozi Okobi, Faith Ikidi, Ogonna Chukwudi and Josephine Chukwunonye just landed in Paris, France. They will be joined by their mates from Abuja before heading to Le Mans today. #SoarSuperFalcons #FRANGA,” the Super Falcons tweeted on Wednesday afternoon.

The new arrivals brought the number of players currently in France for the game to nine following the arrival of Francisca Ordega, Courtney Dike and Desire Oparanozie on Tuesday.

Still expected in camp are Onyinyechukwu Okeke, Chiamaka Nnadozie, Ugo Njoku, Esther Sunday, Anam Imo, Ngozi Ebere and UK-based Ini-Abasi Umotong as well as the home-based players.

The game is billed to hold at the Stade MMArena in the city of Le Mans, France on Friday.

FIFA Women’s Rankings: Nigeria Drops To 38th Position, U.S Maintains Lead

Germany for the first time since 2009 dropped out of the top two in the FIFA women’s rankings after a series of bad runs of results.

The United States’ team went unbeaten as they won this month’s sheBelieves Cup on home soil, while Germany failed to register a single victory at the annual invitational tournament.

England’s second place in the tournament under new manager Phil Neville gave them the second spot in the rankings for the first time.

France rose to fifth after finishing third in sheBelieves Cup.

The Netherlands remain at Number seven while Sweden rose to ninth after being named joint winners of the Algarve Cup.

Canada, who finished fifth at the event, climbed to fourth in the rankings.

Japan, who won the World Cup in 2011 and finished runners-up in 2015, has dropped out of the top 10 for the first time since 2007.

They lost two of their four matches this year.

Cyprus Cup champions Spain rose to 12th, their best yet.

Nigeria dropped one step to 38 in the rankings, after amassing 1608 points, five less than 1613 it gathered a month earlier.

But Nigeria is still Africa’s number one on the CAF rankings, with Ghana and Cameroon maintain their second and third places respectively.

Top 10 FIFA women’s rankings (previous positions in brackets):

 

U.S. (1)

England (3)

Germany (2)

Canada (5)

France (6)

Australia (4)

Netherlands (7)

Brazil (8)

Sweden (10)

Korea DPR (11)(NAN

WAFU Semi-Final: Nigeria Out On Penalties

The Super Falcons of Nigeria lost 5-4 in the semi finals of West African Football Union Women’s Cup on penalties  to Ghana

The match ended in a 1-1 draw after regulation time, which then saw both teams into penalties in the match played at the Treichville Sports Park Stadium in Abidjan.

Alice Ogebe opened score sheet for Nigeria in the eighth minute with Faustina Ampah equalized  for Ghana nine minutes later.

Proceeding to penalty shootout, the Super Falcons lost 4-5 to the Black Queens.

Falcons will take on Mali for the third place position while the Black Queens will face hosts Cote d’ Ivoire in the finals.

Umotong Shocked By Super Falcons Invitation, Explains Nigeria Choice

England-based striker Ini Umotong has expressed her  amazement after she received invitation to the Alanya Women’s Tournament in Turkey.

African champions the Super Falcons will compete in the invitational tournament along with seven other countries.

Umotong, 23, plays for Brighton & Hove Albion in the Women’s Super League 2, the second division of women’s football in England.

Brighton are currently third in the league with 16 points from eight matches, seven points adrift of leaders Doncaster Rovers Belles who have played one game more.

“It was a feeling of shock, excitement and anxiousness. I was so excited, as I’ve been waiting for a call-up for a long time and it was really emotional,” Umotong told Brighton’s official website.

“The new coach Thomas Dennerby emailed me, and my heart stopped a bit when I found out that it had all been confirmed.

“My family were very happy and proud once they found out, and I’m so pleased with how it’s all turned out.”

The 23-year-old has one senior cap to date and explained how playing internationally is different to club football.

“I’ve been called up twice before. I have one official cap and I was called up to the Nigeria squad for the World Cup in 2015, but didn’t make any appearances,” she added.

“It was definitely the best experience of my career so far and I just turned 21 at the time. I played against Mali in Mali for my debut in February 2015.

“The playing style is completely different, but I loved it as it was really fast-paced and physical. It was a playing style I adapted to and took back to my playing club. I learned so much being around that standard.”

Umotong holds dual nationality and is also eligible to play for England, but opted for Nigeria.

“I was born in Nigeria and I came over to the UK as a one-year old, so I have dual nationality and two passports,” she explained.

“The thought was always there [to play for England]. I was called up to a couple of youth camps at under-15 level, so I always had the possibility to play for England.

“But Nigeria suited my playing style more, as they’re very direct and physical, so it just felt right to play for Nigeria.”

Super Falcons To participate In Turkey Tournament With Mexico, Others

Nigeria’s Super Falcons will take part in an eight-nation competition tagged Alanya Women’s Tournament in Turkey in April,

Mexico, Romania, Ukraine and Slovakia are the other countries to have validate  their participation in the competition.

France have also confirmed their participation but will be represented by their team B, as their first team will be in the United States of America defending their She Believes Cup title.

It will also be Nigeria’s first series of matches outside Africa since the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

The competition will be Super Falcons’ second in 2018 following the ongoing inaugural WAFU Women’s Cup in Cote d’lvoire.

The Super Falcons are also expected to face France in an international friendly game in April.

 

Falcons To Play Ghana in WAFU Cup Semis

Nigeria on Monday defeated Togo 3-1 in their final group match of the 2018 WAFU Women’s Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.

The Super Falcons  finished top of  Group B with nine points after winning all the three games. They will  play Ghana, who finished second in Group A, in the semi-finals of the competition on Thursday.

The other semifinal features Ivory Coast, who topped Group A, and Mali, who were second in the same group with the Super Falcons.

Goals from Anam Imo, Chinaza Uchendu and Chima Wogu gave the three points to the Falcons.

Togo’s consolation was scored by Afi Woedikou in the 81st minute from the penalty spot.

The Falcons had earlier defeated Mali 1-0 and Senegal 3-0 to dominate Group B.

Super Falcons To Begin Preparations For WAFU Womens Cup

The West African Football Union (WAFU) has confirmed that the maiden edition of the women championships will hold in Cote D’ Ivoire from February 8 – 24 , 2018.

WAFU said Nigeria, Cote D’ Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Niger, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Benin Republic are scheduled to vie for honours.

The draw for the tournament is scheduled for January 9, 2018, in Abidjan.

Nigeria’s Super Falcons are expected to begin camping early January and will use the competition to prepare for AWCON qualifiers billed to start in May 2018.

Falcons Face Life Bans

Authorities plan to ban several Super Falcons stars and some of the coaches could lose their jobs as fallout from the standoff over unpaid entitlements.

Falcons striker Francisca Ordega will among the stars to be axed after she said she regrets playing for the country.

The USA-based star was later blasted by NFF president Amaju Pinnick for her comments.

“I can categorically state here that the name Ordega will never be heard or seen in a Super Falcons team list again. This I was told by another top official of the football house,” a source informed.

“No less than 10 of these players could be banned for life for ridiculing their fatherland before the international media and henceforth, the NFF may draw up a code of conduct to guide against future occurrences.”

“The coaches and officials are not left out as they could lose their jobs for not standing firm in support of the federation when it matters most.”

Nigerian sports minister Solomon Dalung visited the team Thursday and pleaded with them for understanding before their outstanding allowances and bonuses.

But the girls have dug in, insisting they will only quit their hotel when they get their monies.

The Nation

We Never Knew Falcons Will Win AWCON – FG

Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung, on Thursday said the Federal Government did not expect the Super Falcons to win the just-concluded CAF African Women Cup of Nations in Cameroon. He said that was why the government was currently facing difficulties in paying the players’ entitlements.

Dalung spoke with State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja amidst continued protests by members of the victorious Falcons over their unpaid allowances. The players had seized the trophy they won at the competition and said they would hold on to the trophy until the authorities concerned offset the N238.05m accumulated bonuses which they are being owed.

They had threatened that if President Muhammadu Buhari refused to address their grievances at the Federal Executive Council’s meeting on Wednesday, they would embark on protest on the streets of Abuja.

But the minister said the situation could have been avoided if the Nigerian Football Federation had envisaged that the team would win and put in place the process of paying their entitlements. He said, “Don’t forget that nobody even knew the team will emerge victorious.

“If we were confident they will emerge victorious, all the federation would have done is to plan for process of participation and entitlement. It is already established in sports tradition, when you win this is what you are entitled to.

“The situation is highly unfortunate and I don’t like it. These girls have given confidence to women who want to embrace sports, so this will go a long way in killing this laudable achievement. It is unfortunate but we will make sure the right thing is done.”

The minister said his position had always remained that the process of request for funds for sporting projects must come earlier to meet the objectives. He said if the federation had requested for funds on time, the process of settling the players would have been easier.

The minister admitted that the matter was not handled properly, regretting that there are also issues of outstanding payment of coaches. – Punch