Paris 2024: Waldrum confident as Super Falcons step up preparations for Banyana Banyana clash

Nigeria’s Super Falcons are confident as they prepare to face South Africa’s Banyana Banyana in the first leg of the final round qualifier for the 2024 Olympic Games.

Head Coach Randy Waldrum expressed his belief in his team’s potential, calling them a “generational team” with the talent and depth to compete with the best in the world.

“This team is a generational team, no disrespect to the other teams, the talent and the depth that is coming into the team, which we saw in Australia (FIFA Women’s World Cup) against some of the best teams around the world,” Waldrum told NFF TV.

“We can continue to move on and be a major player on the world stage.
“This team is special and we have the ability to be one of the best teams in the world.”

Respect for South Africa

Despite his optimism, Waldrum acknowledged the strength of the Banyana Banyana. “South Africa are a very good side, they are defending African champions and we have to respect them,” he remarked.

He highlighted their individual talent and organised approach but emphasised his confidence in his own players’ abilities to deliver on the highly coveted Olympic Games Women’s football ticket.

As of Wednesday morning, 19 players had already reported to the Super Falcons camp in Abuja.
The list includes Jiwuaku Linda, Okeke Chidinma, Oladipo Shukurat, Nnadozie Chiamaka, Ohale Osinachi, Toni Payne, Kanu Uchenna, Monday Gift, Abiodun Deborah, Echegini Jennifer and Ucheibe Christy.

Others are Halimatu Ayinde, Michelle Alozie, Nicole Payne, Rinsola Babajide and Ifeoma Onumonu.

Banyana Banyana ready for the challenge

South Africa’s Banyana Banyana are not daunted by the prospect of playing in Nigeria’s hot and humid capital.
Midfielder Nomvula Kgoale assured that the team is prepared for the challenging weather conditions and every other thing thrown at them by the Super Falcons.

“We know that Nigeria are a very tough opponent to play against,” she acknowledged in an interview with Sowetan, “but I am sure that in two days we would’ve adjusted.”

With both teams confident and prepared, the clash between the Super Falcons and Banyana Banyana promises to be a thrilling encounter.

The first leg kicks off on Friday at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja before the second leg four days after in South Africa.
The winner over the two legs will be going on to pick a slot to represent the continent in the women’s football event at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Since making an appearance at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the Super Falcons have missed out on subsequent editions of the Olympics in 2012, 2016 and at Tokyo 2020.

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