Henan Huishang of China defender, Onome Ebi is leading the charge for victory by Nigeria’s female national team, Super Falcons against South Korea on Wednesday at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, with a bold promise that the side will go all out for victory.
Having lost their first match 3-0 against Norway last Saturday, the Falcons enter Wednesday’s encounter with Korea knowing their hope of going beyond round one at France 2019 hangs on a tight rope, while a win against their Group A rivals would leave qualification in their hands.
Ebi, who is now the first African player, male or female to play in five editions of any senior FIFA World Cup, admitted the task ahead of the Falcons is tough, but affirmed that they are up to the task.
Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) information department stated on Tuesday that the Falcons will throw all their firewood into the furnace when they file out against their counterparts from Korea Republic in their second match of the 8th Female Mundial.
The venue is Stade des Alpes in the city of Grenoble, where Group A’s bottom-of-the-table sides will line out against each other starting 3pm.
However, Falcons’ medics have ruled veteran defender, Faith Michael out of the tournament, after the Pitea IF of Sweden star was injured in a clash with her own goalkeeper, Tochukwu Oluehi during Saturday’s 0-3 loss to Norway and will take no further part in the championship.
The team again trained at Stade Eugène Thenard on Avenue du General de Charles Gaulle, on Tuesday, and the remaining 22 players are rearing to go against the Far East Asians.
In Michael’s absence, Chidinma Okeke, a former junior international, who featured for Nigeria at the 2018 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup, which also staged in France last summer, will start at right back.
She was impressive against the Norwegians when she replaced Michael in the 53rd minute on Saturday, and will hope to again boost the central defence pair of Ebi and Osinachi Ohale, as well as left back, Ngozi Ebere.
In the midfield, Falcons’ coach, Thomas Dennerby will decide whether to once more go with the trio of Ngozi Okobi, Rita Chikwelu and Halimatu Ayinde, or rest the latter for Portugal –based Chinaza Uchendu.
Desire Oparanozie, Asisat Oshoala and Francisca Ordega will be saddled with the assignment of getting the goals that will keep Falcons’ hopes of remaining in France beyond 17th June.
While Nigeria and North Korea have faced each other on two occasions at the FIFA World Cup (one win each way), it is a first meeting at senior level for the Falcons and the South Koreans.
Heading into the midweek cracker in Grenoble, Ebi said she is aware of the crucial nature of the clash and added a deep conviction that it will be a game in which the Falcons will rise to the challenge.
“We don’t have anything to leave behind in the Korea game. We are going all out because the loss in our first game was a very big one.
“I didn’t expect what happened [against Norway] but it’s football – you lose some and you win some.
“We didn’t get the goals, so we are going to learn from what happened and work on those lessons for the second game. We will go all out – for nothing but victory,” Ebi submitted.