Members of Super Falcons, who participated in the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, have touched down in the country after being eliminated from the tournament in a match against England on Monday.
The Nigerian team, known as the Lionesses, were ousted 4-2 in a penalty shootout during the Round of 16 held in Brisbane. Chloe Kelly’s successful spot-kick proved decisive, as Desire Oparanozie and Michelle Alozie missed their chances, resulting in a 0-0 draw over an intense 120 minutes of play.
Reports suggest that some players from the squad have already departed for various destinations, while the remainder of the team have arranged their return journey home.
A video shared on the Super Falcons’ official Twitter account showed players such as Rasheedat Ajibade, Osinachi Ohale, Tochukwu Oluehi, Gift Monday, Rofiat Imuran, and goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie leaving behind their somber demeanor. Their departure from Down Under exhibited signs of pride and determination.
President Bola Tinubu has pledged to host a reception for the team upon their arrival in Nigeria.
Under the guidance of American coach Randy Waldrum, the Falcons showcased an impressive performance in the tournament. They navigated their way unbeaten through a challenging group, which included co-hosts Australia, Olympic champions Canada, and the Republic of Ireland.
Waldrum’s team kicked off their campaign with a hard-fought goalless draw against Canada. They followed it up with a stunning 3-2 victory over Australia in their second match, with Uchenna Kanu, Osinachi Ohale, and Asisat Oshoala finding the back of the net.
A second goalless draw against the Republic of Ireland in the final group game secured their spot in the Round of 16, accumulating five points. However, their second-place finish in the group set them up for a showdown with England in the knockout stage.
Despite being considered underdogs, the Nigerian team put up a resilient fight against the European champions, pushing them to penalties. Georgia Stanway missed England’s first penalty, but Oparanozie and Alozie were unable to capitalize on their chances. England eventually secured their quarterfinal berth when Chloe Kelly converted the winning penalty.
Nigeria stands alongside Brazil, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and the United States as the only countries to have participated in every edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup since its inception in 1991.
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