Nigeria names 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup team: A fan’s report

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Nigeria has named its final 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup roster. Nigeria qualified for the tournament in Germany by winning the 2010 Women’s African Football Championship. It was the team’s eighth title in that particular competition. They defeated Group D’s Equatorial Guinea 4-2 in the final match. Perpetua Nkwocha scored 11 goals in that tournament and led all scorers.

 Nigeria’s best finish in the World Cup was in 1999 when it became the first African team to make it to the quarterfinal round. Nigeria havs three genuine scoring threats on the 2011 roster: Perpetua Nkwocha, Stella Mbachu and Rita Chekwelu. Those three players have combined for 76 international goals. If they are going to make it to the quarterfinal in Germany, the play of those three women are going to make the difference.

 Nigeria will compete for a spot in the quarterfinals in Group A against Canada, France and back-to-back World Cup champion Germany. The matches Nigeria plays against Canada and France will determine the second team to make it out of the group, as Germany is a lock for the quarterfinal round. Nigeria plays France on June 26, Germany on June 30 and Canada on July 5.

Nigeria had a very disappointing World Cup in 2007 and finished with a record of 0-2-1 with only one goal scored. Before that in 2003, the team didn’t win or draw in any of the group-stage matches and conceded 11 goals. In my estimation, Group A in 2011 is much like Group A in 1999 when Nigeria went 2-1-0 in the group matches. There is only one team that Nigerians shouldn’t be able to defeat and two teams they could beat if they are on their game.

Here’s the complete Nigeria 2011 Women’s World Cup roster (current team in brackets):

Goalkeepers: Precious Dede (Rivers Angels), Tochwuku Oluehi (Sunshine Queens), Alaba Jonathan (Pelican Stars)

Defenders: Osinachi Ohale (Delta Queens), Onome Ebi (Duvenciler Lisesi), Helen Ukaonu (Sunnana), Faith Ikidi (Pitea), Josephine Chukwunonye (Rivers Angels), Ulunma Jerome (Pitea)

Midfielders: Rebecca Kalu (Rivers Angels), Perpetua Nkwocha (Sunnana), Ebere Orji (Rivers Angels), Rita Chikwelu (Umea), Glory Iroka (Rivers Angels), Ogonna Chukwudi (Umea)

Forwards: Stella Mbachu (Rivers Angels), Desire Oparanozie (Delta Queens), Sarah Michael (Orebro DFF), Francisca Ordega (Bayelsa Queens), Uchechi Sunday (Neunkirch), Amenze Aighewi (Rivers Angels)

As a soccer fan I’ll be watching Group A to see how Germany looks this year, but I’ll also be interested to see if Nigeria can get past the group stage.

Source: Nigeria roster from FIFA.com

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