Super Falcons head coach Justin Madugu has expressed deep faith in his squad to excel when they clash with their Cape Verdean counterparts in a 2024 Women Africa Cup of Nations final round, first leg qualifier at the MKO Abiola National Stadium on Thursday evening.
“We are without a few regular players for various reasons but we are not here to dwell on that.
“The Super Falcons’ team remains the Super Falcons anytime, any day and anywhere. We have players in camp who will do justice to the badge and get us the qualification ticket to the AFCON,” the coach who continues to take charge of the team with the future of Randy Waldrum uncertain told the Nigeria Football Federation media department.
“Surely, we would have wanted a couple more days for the team to train together, but the fixture is the fixture and the window is the window, and we just have to make do with what we have and get the best out of the arrangement. Everyone in camp will play their part for the Super Falcons to qualify for Morocco 2024.”
A total of 20 of the 21 invited players were at the team’s camp on Tuesday morning, with only the University of Pittsburgh of America’s Deborah Abiodun still expected.
Nine-time champions Nigeria reached this final stage of the qualification series following the withdrawal of Sao Tome’s senior girls from a second-round fixture in September.
The delegation of Cape Verde’s senior girls flew into Nigeria’s capital, Abuja on Monday morning, and the visiting team will have its official training at the mainbowl of the MKO Abiola National Stadium on Wednesday evening from 4 pm.
Thursday’s encounter will begin at 4 pm, with Madugu most likely to hand leadership of the rearguard to Mexico-based veteran Osinachi Ohale, who was among the first players in camp, and with captain Rasheedat Ajibade to lead a midfield and attack that could include Peace Efih, Toni Payne, Esther Onyenezide, Omorinsola Babajide, Esther Okoronkwo, Uchenna Kanu and Gift Monday.
Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie on the shortlist for the CAF African Player of the Year awards held in Morocco will be in goal.
The 13th edition of Africa’s flagship women’s football championship will be staged in Morocco in July next year.
For the encounter in Abuja on Thursday, the Confederation of African Football has picked Ghanaian official Ama Boateng-Nkansah as the referee, with her compatriots Doris Darko, Alice Chakule and Barikisu Salifu as assistant referee 1, assistant referee 2 and fourth official respectively.
Oumou Sy from Guinea will be commissioner while Madeleine Somda from Burkina Faso will be the referee assessor.
For the return leg in Praia on Tuesday, 5th December, Liberian Sylvina Welma Garnett will be the referee with her compatriot Hannah Moses as assistant referee 1.
Sierra Leoneans Precious Amara and Humu Marah will be assistant referee 2 and fourth official respectively, while Oumou Souleymane Kane from Mauritania will serve as commissioner and Fadouma Dia from Senegal will be in the role of referee assessor.
Izuchukwu Okosi is a Nigerian sports and entertainment journalist with two decades of experience in the media industry having begun his media journey in 2002 as an intern at Mundial Sports International (MSI) and Africa Independent Television (AIT), owners of Daar Communications Plc.
In October 2004, Okosi joined Complete Communications Limited, publishers of Complete Sports newspaper and Complete Football magazine as a reporter and later script writer for the Complete Sports studio.
He worked there for 13 years until October 2017.
Okosi also worked various times as Correspondent, Content creator and Editor at Sports Market International Magazine, Opera News, All Nigeria Soccer Media and Iconic Media Watch.
He also undertook freelance writing gigs for some local and international organizations.
Okosi is a member of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Association of Voiceover Artistes of Nigeria (AVOA), Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) and Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
He has been part of cast in some Nollywood movies and radio dramas including Blood Money 2, Scores To Settle, Dead End 2, Another Campus Tale and Battle Line.
Aside mainstream media and the entertainment industry, he has interests in scouting/unearthing of talents in the sports and creative sectors, exports business and property development.