Summer Series: Super Falcons aim for victory against Portugal

Summer Series: Super Falcons aim for victory against Portugal

African champions Nigeria say they have put behind them the loss toJamaica and are determined to earn victory against Portugal on Sunday,in the second of their three-match programme in the Summer Series inthe United States of America.

Missing several key players who were held back by either delayedissuance of entry visa or injuries, the Super Falcons lost 0-1 to theJamaicans on Thursday at the BBVA Stadium in Houston – the same venuewhere they confront the Portuguese on Sunday evening.

Deneisha Blackwood, who plays her professional club game for HoustonDash (the club that uses the BBVA ground), scored in the 54th minuteto condemn the Super Falcons to their first defeat in eight games. Thenine-time African champions had won all three matches at the TurkishWomen’s Cup Tournament in Antalya in February – the first accountunder American coach Randy Waldrum.

After the clash with the Jamaicans, Bayelsa Queens’ midfielder CelineOttah (one of 10 home-based professionals in the Falcons’ squad),joined up with the contingent at the Marriott Marquis Hotel inHouston. Camp sources have confirmed to thenff.com that Belarus –basedexperienced defender Onome Ebi and team captain Asisat Oshoala willhit the team’s camp before the clash with Portugal on Sunday, havingflown out of their bases in Europe on Saturday.

In addition to four-time African Player of the Year Oshoala andoak-at-the-rear Ebi, Coach Waldrum had to do without the young, agileand stout-hearted goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie (who is still stuck inFrance) midfield orchestrators Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene and HalimatuAyinde. Former youth international Nnadozie has been the team’s numberone since the last FIFA World Cup finals in France.

The game against the Portuguese is also being seen in the largercontext of a preparatory session for the Falcons’ last match in theSummer Series – a clash with four-time world champions and four-timeOlympic champions USA at the Q2 Stadium in Austin, also in the Stateof Texas.

Team USA has beaten the Super Falcons in every encounter at the FIFAWorld Cup and the Olympics. But Wednesday’s tie will be the firstfriendly match involving both teams. In fact, the Americans have onlyever played friendly matches against only one African team previously– South Africa’s Banyana Banyana.

SUPER FALCONS IN HOUSTON: Tochukwu Oluehi, Inyene Etim, Glory Ogbonna,Ibe Abidemi, Oluwatosin Demehin, Vivian Ikechukwu, Akudo Ogbonna,Esther Okoronkwo, Gift Monday, Yewande Balogun, Joy Bokiri, FranciscaOrdega, Rasheedat Ajibade, Amanda Mbadi, Toni Oyedupe Payne, ChidinmaOkeke, Celine Ottah, Charity Adule, Rita Chikwelu, Michelle Alozi,Onyinyechi Zogg, Nicole Payne, Ifeoma Onomonwu, Rossa Ariyo.

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