Tochukwu Oluehi will start Nigeria’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations showdown versus South Africa on Monday evening with Chiamaka Nnadozie already ruled out.
Nnadozie, 21, is unavailable for action against Desiree Ellis’ Banyana Banyana due to a match suspension, after accruing two cautions during the Wafcon qualifiers against Cote d’Ivoire.
In her absence, Oluehi is expected to hold sway in goal against the South Africans at the Stade Moulay Hassan in Rabat.
The Maccabi Kishronot Hadera star was Nigeria’s heroine during the 2018 Wafcon final. Aside from making crucial saves at the Accra Sports Stadium, the 35-year-old saved Linda Motlhalo’s penalty to help the West Africans lift a ninth African diadem at the expense of Ellis’ team.
GOAL also gathered from a reliable source close to the team that Barcelona superstar Asisat Oshoala will shoulder goalscoring responsibilities, while she would be relying on services from Atletico Madrid’s Rasheedat Ajibade and Eskilstuna United’s Halimatu Ayinde.
Former England youth international and Leicester City defender Ashleigh Plumptre is alongside Onome Ebi, Osinachi Ohale and Hoston Dash's Michelle Alozie, who are expected to prevent the South African attack led by Thembi Kgatlana from wreaking havoc.
Addressing the media during the pre-match conference, Ebi admitted that Banyana are not going to be pushovers. Regardless, she claimed that playing against the reigning Aisha Buhari Cup queens serve as motivation for the nine-time African champions.
Meanwhile, Randy Waldrum has set his sights on emerging as African champions as well as picking a ticket to the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup billed for New Zealand and Australia.
“Naturally, this is a very big game and we are looking forward to it. It is also a game that should be a good advertisement for African women football. When you have Nigeria playing South Africa at the senior women level, it is a treat,” he said in an NFF statement made available to GOAL.
“Our objectives and expectations remain the same: to earn a ticket to the World Cup and to win the trophy. We will take it one match at a time. It is interesting to play South Africa first, and we can move ahead from there.”