Ravaged By Injuries, Suspensions, Super Falcons Face Zambia For WAFCON Bronze

Ravaged By Injuries, Suspensions, Super Falcons Face Zambia For WAFCON Bronze

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By Amaechi Agbo

Ahead of Friday’s third-place match against Chopper Queens of Zambia, Super Falcons defender and Leicester City of England player,
Ashleigh Plumptre has disclosed that the team has an uphill task to perform.

Speaking in a press conference on Thursday, whose ladies lost to host nation. Morocco 4-5 penalty shootout, Plumptre said the players will approach the match as a final.

“We have a mountain to surmount, surely, but we are ready and will approach the game like the Final match,” defender Ashleigh Plumptre said at Thursday’s pre-match conference.

Forward Rasheedat Ajibade, who has been a cornerstone of Nigeria’s campaign with some mesmerizing moves, measured pull-outs and three goals to the kitty, picked up the Woman of the Match award in the quarter final defeat of Cameroon. However, she is out of Friday’s encounter alongside tenacious midfielder Halimatu Ayinde. Both were sent out in the match against the host nation.

Captain, Onome has been ruled out for six weeks with injury but Waldrum could start with the US –based Payne sisters (Toni and Nicole) on either side of the rear wings, with Osinachi Ohale and Plumptre at centre back. Peace Efih, who scored one of the goals in the 4-0 defeat of Burundi in the group stage, could start in the absence of Ayinde, with the effervescent Gift Monday a probable to start in place of the suspended Ajibade at the fore.

Zambia Coach, Bruce Mwape will bank on team captain Grace Chanda to inspire the Copper Queens against the Super Falcons. Chanda has been the rallying point of the southern African nation since the beginning of the tournament, in the absence of the talismanic Barbara Banda.

While goalkeeper Hazel Nali (injured against South Africa) is doubtful for Friday’s encounter, Nigeria would again rely on the agility and awareness of goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, whose string of saves kept the Falcons in the game against Morocco until the penalty shootout. She was highly deserving of her Woman of the Match award in that tie.

The Copper Queens drew 0-0 with Cameroon in their opening match, before 1-0 and 4-1 wins over Tunisia and Togo respectively shot them to the quarter finals, where they edged Senegal 4-2 after penalty shootout.

The Falcons lost 1-2 to South Africa in their opening game before beating Botswana and Burundi 2-0 and 4-0 respectively, and Cameroon 1-0 in the last eight.

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