S’Africa Set Altitude Trap as Waldrum Invites Ajibade, Oshoala, Nnadozie, Others for Banyana

S’Africa Set Altitude Trap as Waldrum Invites Ajibade, Oshoala, Nnadozie, Others for Banyana

With less than two weeks to the all-important final Paris Olympic Games  women’s football qualifying contest against South Africa, Head Coach of South Africa’s Banyana Banyana, Desiree Ellis, has vowed to use all resources at her  disposal to ensure that the Rainbow nation win the ticket.

Despite emerging nine-time African champions, the Super Falcons last qualified for the Games 16 years ago. The South Africans want to extend the jinx following the decision to play this all-important return leg on a high altitude.

Nigeria will host the first leg in Abuja next week Friday, April 5. 

The reversed leg will be at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on April 9. Even ahead of the first leg match in Abuja, the South Africans have already put on sale, the tickets for the return leg.

In an interview on South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Sport, Ellis said that the decision to play Nigeria in the second leg Olympic Qualifier at the Loftus stadium “is about using the high-altitude advantage.

”We looked at the altitude, we have to make sure that we take advantage of that and hopefully it can help us, especially within the first 15/20 into the game,” said Ellis

In addition to the venue of the match, the tickets, according to very reliable sources in South Africa are already on sale at all “TicketPro outlets as well as at Spar.”

According to the official website of the South African Football Association, the tickets are available for 50 Rands ($2.6) and 20 Rands ($1) for children.

“For the home return match, fans are requested to come out in their numbers to support our senior women’s football team. There will be lots of prizes to be won including meeting your favorite Banyana Banyana players.

“Put on your yellow national team regalia. We want Loftus to be buzzing on the day,” said SAFA CEO, Lydia Monyepao.

Meanwhile, Coach Randy Waldrum has extended invitations to captain Rasheedat Ajibade, US-based Africa queen, Asisat Oshoala and high-riding goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie among a group of 22 players for the high-profile match.

Saudi Arabia-based defender Ashley Plumptre and veteran rearguard Osinachi Ohale are also called, as well as youthful midfielder Deborah Abiodun, and forwards Esther Okoronkwo and Uchenna Kanu.

There are recalls for 2019 World Cup star Chidinma Okeke and veteran forward Chiwendu Ihezuo, and a first invitation for U20 defender Shukurat Oladipo.

Waldrum has also kept faith with regulars like wing-back Michelle Alozie, midfield lynchpins Christy Ucheibe and Halimatu Ayinde, and forward Gift Monday.

The Banyana and Super Falcons Olympic qualifier comes at a time when Ellis’ team is riding high on confidence, having won three of their last four meetings against the Super Falcons.

The former Banyana Banyana captain traces back their turnaround against the Nigerians to when they toppled them on home soil in the Aisha Buhari Cup.

” But I think our biggest turning point was the Aisha Buhari Cup and some of our key players were not available for that fixture, but with the type of football we played – belief set in, and this shows that this team is not afraid of anyone,” added Ellis.


Goalkeepers: Chiamaka Nnadozie (Paris FC); Tochukwu Oluehi (Shualat Alsharqia FC, Saudi Arabia); Linda Jiwuaku (Bayelsa Queens)

Defenders: Osinachi Ohale (Pachuca Club de Futbol, Mexico); Ashleigh Plumptre (Ittihad Ladies, Saudi Arabia); Shukurat Oladipo (FC Robo Queens); Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash, USA); Nicole Payne (Portland Thorns FC, USA); Chidinma Okeke (Mynavi Sendai Ladies, Japan) 

Midfielders: Deborah Abiodun (University of Pittsburgh, USA); Halimatu Ayinde (FC Rosengard, Sweden); Christy Ucheibe (SL Benfica, Portugal); Jennifer Echegini (Juventus Ladies, Italy); Rasheedat Ajibade (Atletico Madrid FC, Spain); Toni Payne (Sevilla FC, Spain) 

Forwards: Omorinsola Babajide (Coasta Adeje Tenerife Egatesa, Spain); Esther Okoronkwo (Changchun FC, China); Ifeoma Onumonu (SLC Utah, USA); Asisat Oshoala (Bay FC, USA); Uchenna Kanu (Racing Louisville, USA); Gift Monday (Coasta Adeje Tenerife Egatesa, Spain); Chiwendu Ihezuo (Pachucha Club de Futbol, Mexico)  

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