Super Falcons’ captain, Onome Ebi, has assured Nigerians that the senior women’s national team is focused on the twin objectives of winning a ticket to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals and retaining the Women Africa Cup of Nations title in Morocco next month.
Cup holders, Nigeria and 11 other countries will contend for the coveted Women AFCON trophy in the North African Kingdom from July 2 to 23. All four semifinalists in the competition are guaranteed berths in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup – the biggest ever in the history of the women’s game that will be staged in Australia and New Zealand a year on.
“We are aware of the intense competition that is going to play out there in Morocco. We have no illusions. Women’s football has continued to grow in a lot of other African nations, faster than anyone can imagine. So, there will be nothing like under-rating any team. All the teams will be upbeat about their chances and winning tickets to the World Cup.
“On our part, as defending champions, we know our strengths. We know what we have to bring to the pitch to conquer. The wise thing always is to take it one match at a time. We go up first against the Banyana, and then we have to face the challenges of Botswana and Burundi. Then, the knockout rounds. World Cup ticket is paramount, but we also want to retain our trophy.”
Nigeria has won nine of the 11 championships contested so far, done every other year since 1998, save for the 2020 edition that was obliterated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Ebi, who has played in five FIFA World Cup finals since the fourth finals in the United States of America in 2003, was among 19 early arrivals as the training camp commenced in Abuja on Thursday.
The 19 early birds have now been joined by four others, and four more are expected as the team prepares to depart the country next weekend for Morocco.