Female national team, Super Falcons midfielder, Osarenoma Igbinovia has declared that she and her colleagues in the squad will give their very best home and away against Algeria, because they want to qualify for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
With Nigeria having failed to reach the past two editions of the Games’ women’s soccer events in London, England and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Igbinovia said ahead of their first leg away to Algeria that the desire to rewrite history is burning high among all the Falcons’ players.
With that in mind, Igbinovia promised that it will be fury all the way, as the nine-time African champions begin the race towards Tokyo 2020 on Wednesday, for which she vowed that they will play with a high level of determination to earn an away win.
Igbinovia also further acknowledged that they have to get a good result in Algeria in order to make the second leg next week at Agege Stadium, Lagos less difficult for Coach Thomas Dennerby’s squad.
She was speaking after the team arrived in Algiers on Monday, and had their final training session at 6pm on Tuesday, during which the aura of confidence soared, as the players echoed that they want to emulate the under-20 team, the Falconets, who hammered the Algerian youths 3-0 at the Africa Games to qualify for the final in Rabat, Morocco.
Algeria Football Federation have scheduled the match to kick off at 7pm at Stade Mustapha Tchaker in Blida, with Malian ref, Teneba Bagayoko at the centre, aided by two of her compatriots Mariam Coulibaly (assistant referee 1) and Djeneba Dembélé (assistant referee 2).
The fourth official will be Dorsaf Ganouati from Tunisia while Togo’s Mana Dzodope will serve as referee assessor and Oumou Kane from Mauritania will be the match commissioner.
The Falcons’ squad in Algeria has two goalkeepers, Christy Ohiaeriaku and Tochukwu Oluehi, as well as seven defenders: Ugochi Emenayo, Blessing Edoho, Ihuoma Onyebuchi, Glory Ogbonna, Margaret Etim, Maryam Ibrahim and Abidemi Ibe.
Also present are four midfielders, Osarenoma Igbinovia, Amarachi Okoronkwo, Regina Otu and Cecilia Nku, as well as five forwards, Alice Ogebe, Lola Philips, Adejoke Ejalonibu, Joy Eke and Rafiat Sule.
However, Dennerby is in the North African country without a number of his key players, especially the Europe-based stars, who are all involved in club duties, while his first choice goalkeeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie is with the Falconets at the 12th Africa Games.
The Super Falcons last played at the Olympics in China 11 years ago, at Beijing 2008, after which they were dumped by Cameroon in the African qualifiers for the London 2012 Games and then lost to Equatorial Guinea in the race to Rio 2016, but Igbonivia says they will reach Tokyo 2020.
Igbonivia declared: “We have not been to the Olympics for several years now, and we are not happy about that. We will put up our best effort on Wednesday in order to make the second leg a formality.”