By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
As Nigeria files out tonight against Jamaica in the opening match of the Four-nation invitational tournament tagged Summer Series holding in Texas from June 10 to 16, the Super Falcons will be without some key players.
Among the big miss are Falcons captain and FC Barcelona feminine forward, Asisat Lamina Oshoala and Belarus-based veteran defender, Onome Ebi who are yet to arrive team’s Marriott Marquis Hotel in Houston at the time of this report.
Others who will not be in the Match Day sheet are first choice goalkeeper at the last FIFA Women’s World Cup final in France, Chiamaka Nnadozie of Paris FC and a handful of invited first team players who are unable to make it to United States due to several reasons, especially through injuries.
Those in this category are Sweden-based Halimat Ayinde, Ngozi Okobi-Okoghene and Uchenna Kanu as well as experienced defenders, Osinachi Ohale and Patricia George.
However, Falcons Head Coach, Randy Waldrum has enough weapons in his armoury to ensure that Nigeria grinds out victory over Jamaica when both nations meet at 10:30 pm (WA) at BBVA Stadium in Houston.
With the presence of quality players like Co-captain and winger, Francisca Ordega; veteran midfielder, Rita Chikwelu; goalie Tochi Oluehi and youthful defenders, Chidinma Okeke and Glory Ogbonna as well as half dozen diaspora players invited by Waldrum lately, Nigerians expect nothing but a win against Jamaica.
On paper, Nigeria’s Super Falcons rated 38 best team in the world by FIFA should beat ‘Reggae Girlz’ of Jamaica, rated 51 as both teams meet in a maiden match.
Expectedly, Jamaica tutored by long-time soccer tactician, Hue Menzies and led by Captain and Jamaica’s topmost goal scorer with 42 goals, Khadijah Shaw will come out the Falcons from the first blast of the whistle today.
The Jamaican team supported heavily by Cedella Marley, daughter of world renowned Reggae Exponent, late Bob Nestor Marley, can hold their own on a good day. The team qualified was at the last FIFA Women’s World Cup and has seen its stocks rise in the CONCACAF region.
However, the Falcons who will also do battle with hosts and world champions USA in this tournament aimed at preparing the 9-time African champions for their crucial African Women’s Championship eliminator against perennial rivals Ghana in October, will not worry too much over the result of the match today.
Meanwhile, the format of the Summer Series show that USA and Nigeria will play three matches while Portugal and Jamaica will play two just as no standings will be kept and all matches will be treated as friendlies.
Date Matches Stadium City Kickoff time
June- 10: Jamaica vs Nigeria- BBVA Stadium, Houston, Texas 4:30 p.m.
June- 10: USA vs Portugal- BBVA Stadium, Houston, Texas 7:30 p.m.
June- 13: Portugal vs Nigeria- BBVA Stadium, Houston, Texas 6:00 p.m.
June- 13: USA vs Jamaica- BBVA Stadium, Houston, Texas 9:00 p.m.
June- 16: USA vs Nigeria’ Q2 Stadium Austin, Texas 8:00p.m.