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Women's World Cup: Nigeria Women's Team Profile

Nigeria head to the Women’s World Cup hopeful to follow up on their good showing in France four years ago.

They made it out of the group stage for the first time in 20 years in the 2019 edition. 

With a Barcelona star leading the line, Nigeria, who are 400/1 to win the competition, are seen as Africa’s biggest hope in Australia and New Zealand, despite their continental dominance ending last year.

Nigeria's World Cup record:

Nigeria have made every Women’s World Cup dating back to the first edition back in 1991, but their record at the tournament hasn’t been brilliant. 

They’ve won just four of the 26 games they have played in the tournament, half of which came in 1999 during their best finish. 

The Super Falcons made the quarter-finals in the United States 24 years ago, but they didn’t win another game at the World Cup until 2011. 

They found themselves in a tricky group in France, going up against the host nation as well as Norway. However, they were able to claim a 2-0 victory over South Korea to secure third. 

They made it to the last 16 as one of the best third-placed finishers, losing in the first knockout round to Germany. 

They’ll hope for a repeat of that at least in 2023, as they’re once again paired with a host nation in Australia and a tricky opponent in Canada.

How Nigeria qualified:

Qualifying for the Women’s World Cup in CAF tends to come through the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, a tournament which has been kind to Nigeria over the years. 

They’ve won it a record 11 times, but they fell short last year. The top four sides at the 2022 edition in Morocco earned a place at the 2023 Women’s World Cup and Nigeria were able to reach the semi-finals, but their eight-year hold on the competition ended. 

The Super Falcons had won three straight editions of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations between 2014 and 2018, but they were beaten on penalties by hosts Morocco before losing to Zambia in the third/fourth play-off. 

That was still enough for Nigeria to continue their perfect attendance record at the Women’s World Cup and the narrow nature of their elimination means they will expect to be a test for their opponents in Group B.

The Manager – Randy Waldrum

American Randy Waldrum has over 40 years of managerial experience, mainly in the women’s game. He’s mainly taken charge of college teams in the US, boasting a strong record with the University of Tulsa and Baylor University, while he led the University of Notre Dame to two national championships. 

Waldrum spent three years in charge of the Houston Dash in the NWSL, while he took charge of Nigeria in 2020 after initially turning them down in 2017. 

Nigeria haven’t faced too many big tests under Waldrum’s watch, although he led them to fourth place in the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in 2022.

Confirmed Nigeria Squad:

Goalkeepers: Chiamaka Nnadozie (Paris FC), Tochukwu Oluehi (Hakkarigucu Spor FC), Yewande Balogun (Saint-Etienne)

Defenders: Onome Ebi (Abia Angels), Osinachi Ohale (Deportivo Alaves), Glory Ogbonna (ALG Spor), Ashleigh Plumptre (Leicester City), Rofiat Imuran (Reims), Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash), Oluwatosin Demehin (Reims)

Midfielders: Halimatu Ayinde (Rosengard), Rasheedat Ajibade (Atletico Madrid), Toni Payne (Sevilla), Christy Ucheibe (Benfica), Deborah Abiodun (Rivers Angels), Onyi Echegini (Florida State University)

Forwards: Uchenna Kanu (Racing Louisville FC), Gift Monday (Tenerife), Ifeoma Onumonu (NJ/NY Gotham), Asisat Oshoala (Barcelona), Desire Oparanozie (Wuhan Chegu Jianghan), Francisca Ordega (CSKA Moscow), Esther Okoronkwo (Saint-Etienne)

Nigeria's Key Players:

Nigeria’s one to watch at this tournament has to be Barcelona’s Asisat Oshoala, with the 28-year-old coming off the back of a great season in Spain.

She scored 21 times in 28 games in the 2022/23 Primera Division campaign. The forward was vice-captain of the Super Falcons at the 2019 World Cup and she’s scored in the last two editions of the tournament. 

She’s hit 83 goals in 89 league games with Barca and her 29 international goals make her a standout for Nigeria at this tournament. 

Supporting Oshoala is a group of up-and-coming stars who could be Nigeria’s future on the international stage. Atletico Madrid midfielder Rasheedat Ajibade was the joint-top scorer at the 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations and the 23-year-old will be expected to put on a good showing in Australia and New Zealand.

Nigeria's Group fixtures:

Group B: 
Nigeria vs Canada, Melbourne, 21st July 2023 
Australia vs Nigeria, Brisbane, 27th July 2023 
Republic of Ireland vs Nigeria, Brisbane, 31st July 2023

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