Along with France, South Korea and Norway, Nigeria will be in Group A of the 2019 Women’s World Cup which commences today. A tournament that takes place every four years, the 2019 edition is the eighth of the competition.
The whole 2019 event will be taking place in France. Nine cities – Paris, Valenciennes, Le Havre, Grenoble, Reims, Montpellier, Nice and Lyon – will be hosting games, with the final in Lyon.
The tournament spans June 7 to July 7. The first game will be France vs South Korea, with the final bringing a close to the World Cup a month later. The Falcons will play their first match today, against the Norwegian team, the Grasshoppers.
There are 24 teams in all, featuring across six groups.
For ladies who do not totally understand soccer, the top two in each group will make it through to the last 16, along with the best-performing four third-place teams. From there the eight winners head into the quarter-finals, final four into the semi-finals and last two standing into the final. As with the men’s edition, there is a third-place play-off to decide who ends up being the best of the rest.
There have only been four winners of the Women’s World Cup: USA in 1991, 1999 and 2015; Germany in 2003 and 2007, Norway in 1995 and Japan with one win in 2011.
Meet some of our superstars who will bring back the cup, hopefully.
ASISAT OSHOALA: Three –time African Player of the Year, Oshoala is unarguably one of the most respected strikers in African women football. She was top scorer and best player of the FIFA U20 Women’s World in Canada in the year 2014, and has never looked back since then.
Tall, athletic and a clinical finisher, Oshoala is one of the players the world expects to shine at the 8th FIFA Women’s World Cup finals taking place in France, 7th June – 7th July 2019.
Her playing career has taken her to FC Robo Queens of Lagos, Rivers Angels of Port Harcourt, Arsenal Ladies FC of England and Dalian Quanjian FC of China. She is presently on the books of FC Barcelona Ladies in Spain, and two weeks ago became the first African to score in the final of the UEFA Women Champions Cup against FC Lyon in France.
FRANCISCA ORDEGA: Ordega is a power –playing forward with plenty of pace, energy and savvy. She is going to her third FIFA World Cup finals, having played in Germany in 2011 and in Canada in 2015.
In Canada 2015, Ordega scored the third goal in the 3-3 draw with Sweden in Nigeria’s opening match. She was very instrumental to Nigeria’s triumph at the Women Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana in December 2018.
In her playing career, she has featured for Bayelsa Queens of Yenagoa, Rivers Angels of Port Harcourt, Rossiyanka FC, Pitea IF of Sweden, Washington Spirits of United States of America, Sydney FC of Australia and Atletico Madrid FC of Spain. She is currently playing for Shanghai Shenhua FC in China.
DESIRE OPARANOZIE: Desire Oparanozie will captain the Nigeria senior women national team, Super Falcons, at the 8th FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
Another power –playing forward, Oparanozie uses her immense physical attribute to great advantage. She started as an U17 international, playing for the Flamingos (Nigeria’s U17 national team) at the inaugural FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals in New Zealand in 2008. She also featured at the FIFA World Cup in Germany in 2011 and in Canada in 2015.
She has played for Bayelsa Queens of Yenagoa, Delta Queens of Asaba, Wolfsburg FC of Germany, Luleburgaz 39 Spor, Rossiyanka and Atasehir Belediyespor of Turkey. She is presently with En Avant Guingamp of France.
NGOZI OKOBI: One of the most delightful midfielders in women’s football globally, Ngozi Okobi also played for Nigeria at the FIFA World Cup finals in Canada in 2015. A skillful playmaker and lubricator, Okobi’s visionary passes will help the Super Falcons in France.
She also started as an U17 player, featuring for the Flamingos at the inaugural FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals in New Zealand in 2008, before joining the U20 girls, Falconets to participate at the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup finals in Japan in 2012.
In her playing career, she has coursed through Delta Queens of Asaba, Washington Spirits of USA and Vittsjo GIK in Sweden. She is presently with Eskiltuna FC of Sweden.
ONOME EBI: One of the most respected defenders in African football, Onome is a veteran of the Super Falcons, having been with the team for more than 10 years. She played for the Super Falcons at the FIFA World Cup in China in 2007, in Germany in 2011 and in Canada in 2015.
Strong, energetic and hard working, Onome Ebi will be influential for the Super Falcons in France. She has won a number of Women Africa Cup of Nations titles with Nigeria, in 2010, 2014, 2016 and 2018.
In her playing career, she has featured for Bayelsa Queens of Yenagoa, Pitea IF of Sweden, Duvenciler Lisespor and Atasehir Belediyespor of Turkey, Sunnana SK and FC Minsk of Ukraine. She is presently with Henan Huishang FC of China.