Bayelsa Queens of Yenagoa midfielder, Super Falcons midfielder, Osarenoma Igbinovia has come out with a bold declaration that Cote d’Ivoire will not stop the Nigerian female national team, Super Falcons from qualifying for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Casting her thoughts ahead of this weekend’s first leg of Africa’s final qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 against the Ivoriens, Igbinovia stressed that knowing how Nigeria missed the last two editions of the Games has spurred her and other players in the Falcons to aim for a ticket to Japan.
She recounted how Equatorial Guinea stopped Nigeria’s 2016 dream when she first played in the Olympics qualifiers and vowed to put in her very best this time to ensure the country’s green-white-green flag flies high in the Tokyo sky next year during the women’s football tournament.
Igbinovia added that she and her colleagues in the squad will give their very best home and away against Ivory Coast, because they want to qualify for next year’s Olympics, because they are filled with a very deep desire to rewrite history for Nigeria’s female football pedigree.
An appearance at the Olympics would surely be a huge boost to the career of this 23-year-old lass, who earlier represented Nigeria at the 2012 and 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, but is yet to get top marks at full senior level with the Falocns.
In April 2016, Igbinovia scored a decisive goal against Senegal to seal Nigeria’s qualification to the Africa Women Cup of Nations and went on to feature in the final group game at the tournament against Mali, who the Falcons beat 4-0.
In May 2016, Igbinovia was nominated alongside Bayelsa Queens teammate, Rofiat Sule for the May edition of the Nigeria Women Premier League player of the month, then played a key part in her club’s Federation Cup semi-final game against Delta Queens of Asaba.
The 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 Igbinovia says they will reach Tokyo 2020.
She promised that it will be fury all the way, as the nine-time African champions continue the race towards Tokyo 2020 in Abidjan, and vowed that the Falcons will play with determination to earn an away win, then wrap up the ticket on home soil in the reverse fixture.
Igbinovia declared: “We want to qualify for the Olympics, because it’s been long since we got there. The other time, it was Equatorial Guinea that stopped us. So, we want to stop Ivory Coast this time. 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 in order to make the second leg a formality.”