With Football at the Paris Olympics set to take centre stage on Thursday, July 25, 2024, the Super Falcons of Nigeria have taken preparations up a notch for what would be their first appearance at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in 16 years.

The Super Falcons are camping in the city of Jerez de la Frontera outside Sevilla and 14 players are set for training action. As disclosed by the Team Administrator Mary Oboduku, 12 players were gathered for breakfast on Monday, and two more players were being expected at the team’s Hotel Barceló Montecastillo Golf and Resort by Monday afternoon.

“We started training on Sunday, and the camp is calm. The players are in very high spirits as they look forward to the tournament in France,” Oboduku revealed.

Team captain Rasheedat Ajibade and first-choice goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie are at the head of the squad already in camp, with goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi, defenders Chidinma Okeke and Nicole Payne, midfielders Christy Ucheibe, Toni Payne, Deborah Abiodun and Jennifer Echegini, and forward Esther Okoronkwo also in. Alternate players, goalkeeper Morufa Ademola and forward Gift Monday are also in camp.

Defenders Osinachi Ohale and Michelle Alozie were being expected at the team’s hotel Monday afternoon.

The nine-time African champions, who last played at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in China in 2008, will take on reigning Olympic champions Canada in a training match in Sevilla on Wednesday, July 17.

Canada’s ladies defeated their counterparts from Sweden 3-2 after a penalty shootout, following a 1-1 draw in regulation and extra time, to clinch the gold medal in Tokyo three years ago.

In their last outing at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, the Falcons lost 0-1 to Korea Democratic People’s Republic, 0-1 to Germany and 1-3 to eventual silver medallists Brazil.

Women’s football debuted at the Olympic Games as a demonstration sport in 1996, but the Super Falcons made their entry in 2000 in Australia, where they lost 1-3 each to China, eventual winners Norway and eventual silver medallists USA. Perpetua Nkwocha scored the lone goal against China while Mercy Akide was the scorer against both Norway and USA.

Nigeria’s best outing – so far – at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament was in Athens 20 years ago, where the Super Falcons finished in 6th place after exiting the tournament in the quarter-finals.

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