The Super Falcons will be without head coach Randy Waldrum as they face Ethiopia in the first leg of the second round of the 2024 Women’s Olympic qualifying games, in Addis Ababa today.
Waldrum, whose current contract ends October 31 and is currently negotiating his extension with the Nigeria Football Federation, according to a source, has personal commitments and could be available for the return leg in Nigeria.
In his absence, assistant coaches Justin Madugu, Ann Agumanu-Chiejine and Auwal Makwalla will take charge of the team.
The first leg of the doubleheader encounter will take place at the Abebe Bekila Stadium, Addis Ababa on Wednesday, while the return leg will be held at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Tuesday, October 31.
After failing to qualify for the 2016 and 2020 editions of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo respectively, the Falcons will hope to book a place at next year’s event in Paris.
Nigeria drew bye for the second round of the qualifying series and face the daunting task of moving to the final round of the qualification series against Lucy, as the Ethiopian women’s team is known, who eliminated Chad in the first round of the series.
Ethiopia secured a spot for this round after beating Chad 10-0 in the first round of the series in July.
The Ethiopians won the first leg 6-0 in Addis Ababa, before lashing their hosts 4-0 in N’Djamena five days later.
According to the Nigeria Football Federation, all invited players have arrived in camp and held a training session on Tuesday except for US-based forward Ifeoma Onumonu, who arrived in camp Tuesday night.
For today’s game, the Confederation of African Football has appointed Lamia Atman from Algeria as referee, with her compatriots Asma Feriel Ouahab, Sara Kemmad and Ghada Mehat as assistant referee 1, assistant referee 2 and fourth official respectively.
Angelique Tuyishime from Rwanda will serve as referee assessor while Tabitha Njoroge from Kenya will be match commissioner.
The winners on aggregate will confront the winners of the fixture between Cameroon and Uganda. The Indomitable Lionesses also drew bye, while Uganda overpowered Rwanda 4-3 on aggregate.