Paris 2024: Nigeria Women’s team determined to overpower feisty Lucy of Ethiopia
Action at the Abebe Bikila Stadium, Ethiopia during the first leg of the double header feature that ended in 1-1 stalemate
By Rasheed Adewuyi
Nigeria’s World Cup stars say they are keen to give their very best on Tuesday evening and consign Ethiopia among the heap of historical relics in order to reach the penultimate round of qualifiers for next year’s Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in France.
Coach Justine Madugu said on Sunday that his girls were disappointed by the result in East Africa and are keen to step on the pedal at the MKO Abiola National Stadium on Wednesday evening.
“We were not too happy about the result of that first game. It’s unfortunate not to win the first leg but we are equally realistic with ourselves. We had some challenges in that game, and did our best to quickly surmount them. The girls have overcome those challenges and are really determined to make sure they are part of the Olympics next year.”
Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, who was formidable at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in the summer and has been huge for French club Paris FC in the ongoing UEFA Women Champions League, assured that the playing body is inspired to brush aside the Ethiopian challenge and look forward to the Olympic ticket after two more rounds of the qualification series.
“Our plan was to win the first leg (in Addis Ababa), but we have taken the draw and the lessons that came from there. We are looking forward to the return match in Abuja and we will go all out for victory.”
Team captain Rasheedat Ajibade added: “The spirit in camp is excellent and we’re looking forward to victory. We will work very hard from the very first minute because we have no reason to under-rate them; they gave us a scare in the first leg. Our objective is to earn a clear win and make progress in the race.”
New-comer Rinsola Babajide, who won her first cap for Nigeria in Addis Ababa, said: “Everybody wanted more from the first game; we know we under-performed. We really should have won but the circumstances made it difficult. Now, at home and in front of our own people, we’ve got the advantage and we just need to work harder than ever before, get the goals and most importantly, win on the day.”
Ethiopia’s senior girls will be no pushovers, as the team defeated their counterparts from Chad 10-0 on aggregate in the first round to be eligible to square up to the Super Falcons. They defeated Chad 6-0 in Addis Ababa and followed up with a 4-0 lashing of their hosts in N’Djamena a few days later.
Wednesday’s encounter at the MKO Abiola National Stadium will commence at 4pm.