Super Falcons coach, Randy Waldrum, is banking on the prowess of Barcelona Feminine and Atletico Madrid Feminine forwards, Asisat Oshoala and Rahseedat Ajibade, as the team begins its 2023 Women’s World Cup campaign against Canada on July 21.
Nigeria is in Group B with co-hosts Australia, Canada, and the Republic of Ireland in their ninth appearance at the World Cup. Having not missed any of the previous editions of the tournament, the team is out to make a statement with an improved performance in Australia and New Zealand.
Nigeria’s best performance at the World Cup was reaching the quarter-finals in 1999.
To surpass their previous achievement, head coach Waldrum talked up the importance of Oshoala and Asisat, who are likely to form the Falcons attack along with returnee Desire Oparanozie.
The 28-year-old Oshoala will be playing in her third World Cup and ranks among the stars to watch in Australia and New Zealand, following her exploits for FC Barcelona Feminine in Spain. She helped her club win the Women’s Champions League and the league last season, scoring 25 goals in the process.
While the country awaits her to replicate her club form for the national team, Waldrum said, “Everyone knows Asisiat is so important to this team, we always expect her to score goals every time she steps on the pitch. The nation expects perfection from her in every performance.”
The American coach also hailed Ajibade, who scored 10 goals for her club in the Spanish women’s top division last season.
“I think she is one of the bright young players in the world. She is very talented, extremely gifted athletically, and has all the qualities needed to become a world-class player and I think before her career is over, a lot of people are going to know her name,” Waldrum said.
Nigeria begin its campaign against Canada Friday, July 21 before filing out against Australia on July 27 and the Republic of Ireland on July 31.