Oshoala expected Thursday as Falcons camp opens

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Ahead of the highly-anticipated clash between Nigeria and South Africa for a spot at the women’s football event of the 2024 Olympics in Paris, Super Falcons camp opens on Sunday with the Nigeria Football Federation announcing that Asisat Oshoala is not expected until Thursday, According Sports Extra reports.

According to the media team of the NFF, Captain and Atletico Madrid forward, Rasheedat Ajibade, will be among the early birds as the team begins preparation for the game against the Banyana Banyana.

The two teams, arguably the best women football squads on the African continent, will battle in a two-legged affair as they battle for one of the two tickets from Africa for Paris 2024 Olympics women’s football.

The first leg of the encounter will take place at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Friday while the return leg is scheduled for the Loftus Versfeld arena in Pretoria five days later.

Ajibade, whose savvy, skill and sapience helped the Falcons to the Round of 16 at last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, will be joined in the roost by home-based goalkeeper Linda Jiwuaku and defender Jumoke Alani, who was drafted in following injury to Saudi Arabia-based Ashleigh Plumptre, as early birds.

Debutant Shukurat Oladipo, veteran goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi, Japan-based Chidinma Okeke and Spain-based forward Gift Monday are expected in camp early on Monday while the rest of the squad will be in by Tuesday except for USA-based African queen Oshoala, who is not expected until Thursday.

South Africa’s delegation, including 24 players, will land in Abuja on Monday (today) evening.

The Falcons are extra-motivated for this fixture, having not beaten the Banyana in regulation time for many years now, and having watched as the South Africans carted away the Women Africa Cup of Nations trophy in Morocco last year after the Banyana edged them 2-1 in a group phase match.

Nigeria will bank on the bravery of goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, a rearguard expected to include World Cup stars Osinachi Ohale and Michelle Alozie and perhaps returnee Chidinma Okeke and newbie Oladipo, a midfield of no-nonsense duo Halimatu Ayinde and Christy Ucheibe spiced with the nifty Ajibade and the slicky Deborah Abiodun and a fore-line of Esther Okoronkwo and Uchenna Kanu with Gift Monday, Omorinsola Babajide and returnee Chiwendu Ihezuo also available.

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