- As the countdown to the FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand begins, the Super Falcons are gearing up for a thrilling tournament.
- With a formidable attack packed with talent and goal-scoring prowess, the Super Falcons are poised to make their mark on the world stage.
- Let's look closer at the extraordinary forwards who will proudly represent the record AWCON winners.
Born to Nigerian parents in the USA, Ifeoma Onumonu saw her childhood dream of playing at the international level and participating in the World Cup become a glorious reality.
Making her debut for the Super Falcons in 2021, Onumonu attributes her resilience and strength to the lessons learned from African football.
Notably, she holds a degree in integrative biology from the University of California, highlighting her academic achievements and remarkable athletic skills.
Stepping in as a substitute for the injured Asisat Oshoala during the 2022 WAFCON, Onumonu impressed with her agility and ability to exploit spaces on the field.
Despite facing criticism for only scoring once during the tournament, she remains steadfast in her determination to prove herself to her fans back home.
Off the field, Onumonu actively advocates for change as the co-founder of the Black Women's Player Collective, which empowers NWSL athletes and provides them with a safe platform to amplify their voices.
Record five-time African Footballer of the Year, Asisat Oshoala shines as the Super Falcons' most significant threat in front of the goal.
Oshoala's journey in football was not without challenges. She recalls creating elaborate stories to explain her late returns from school as she pursued her passion for the beautiful game. An agreement with her parents set a deadline: if she had not achieved a breakthrough by the age of 20, she would leave football behind and pursue a law degree.
Interestingly, this versatile Barcelona striker initially played as a defensive midfielder in the 2012 U-20 World Cup but later transitioned into a forward role, emerging as the top scorer at the subsequent edition.
Oshoala arrives at the World Cup after an extraordinary season with Barcelona Ladies, where she played a pivotal role in securing the league title and the UEFA Women's Champions League.
Now, she aims to replicate this success with the Super Falcons on the grandest stage of them all.
Desire Oparanozie's international career has been marked by highs and lows, largely due to her outspokenness and unwavering advocacy for equal pay and prompt payment.
Notably, she faced criticism from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) following a defeat to South Africa in 2021, the football body accusing her of "playing against her own team."
This controversy resulted in her exclusion from Nigeria's squad for the 2022 Africa Women's Cup of Nations and the Revelation Cup in February.
However, in March, she was recalled for friendlies against Haiti and New Zealand. Oparanozie, the most seasoned center-forward in the squad, brings invaluable experience to the team.
Her physicality, aggression, and ability to hold up the ball make her an essential player as Nigeria aims to progress beyond the group stages in the World Cup.
Gift Monday, reminiscent of Uchenna Kanu in style, possesses an explosive shot with either foot, making her a constant threat on the field.
Despite limited playing time during the 2022 WAFCON under coach Randy Waldrum, Monday consistently displayed her danger whenever she stepped onto the pitch.
Known for her selflessness and willingness to make sacrifices for the team, she draws inspiration from her role model, Asisat Oshoala.
Notably, Monday has already garnered two nominations at the 2022 CAF Awards, recognizing her as a young player and interclub player of the year.
Gaining invaluable experience while playing for Tenerife in Spain, Monday's explosiveness and skill are likely to pose significant challenges for Nigeria's opponents in Australia and New Zealand.
Uchenna Kanu proudly claims the title of a "natural goalscorer" and has demonstrated her exceptional abilities while playing in leagues across Mexico and Sweden.
Her remarkable achievements include being the first African player to compete in the top-flight Mexican league with Tigres.
Additionally, she has a special day dedicated to her in Lakeland, Florida, for becoming the all-time leading goalscorer at a single school during her time at Southeastern University.
Kanu's exceptional aerial ability and formidable finishing skills make her an integral force within the Nigerian team, especially when paired alongside Asisat Oshoala.
Together, their combined firepower has the potential to dismantle opposing defences and leave a lasting impact on the World Cup.
Within the Super Falcons squad, Francisca Ordega stands out with her vibrant personality and love for fashion.
An extrovert and a natural joker, Ordega's passion for football was ignited during her time as a ballgirl when the U-20 national team visited her hometown of Benue State.
Witnessing the excitement and support from the crowd sparked a deep connection to the beautiful game.
Growing up in a large family of 15 children, Ordega developed a love for basketball alongside her unwavering dedication to football. She describes football as an integral part of her life, stating that it defines her purpose.
Ordega's remarkable goal-scoring ability has been evident throughout her career with clubs such as Piteå IF, Washington Spirit, Sydney FC, Atlético Madrid, Shanghai Shengli, Levante, and her current club, CSKA Moscow.
Her accomplishments extend beyond the club level, as she has represented Nigeria in the FIFA Women's World Cup and the African Women's Championship.
Interestingly, she earned a nomination for the Best Female African Footballer and celebrated triumphs like lifting the Nigerian Women's Cup with Rivers United in 2012 and securing the Primera División title with Atlético Madrid in 2018.
However, her most remarkable achievements came from winning four African Women's Championship titles with the Super Falcons, solidifying her status as a champion in women's football.
Esther Okoronkwo's journey to the World Cup has been shaped by her background as a star athlete in the American college football scene.
What sets her apart from her teammates is her predominantly left-footed style, which brings a unique advantage to the forward line. Her versatility allows her to excel in central positions or on the right side of the pitch.
Making her debut in 2021, Okoronkwo wasted no time showcasing her knack for scoring crucial goals, including the one that secured Nigeria's qualification for the 2022 WAFCON.
However, a setback in the form of an anterior cruciate ligament injury sidelined her for nearly a year. Despite this obstacle, she made a triumphant return, scoring against Haiti and breaking a historic six-game winless streak in February.
During the just-concluded season, Okoronkwo played a crucial role in helping her former club, Saint-Étienne, secure promotion to the French top flight.
As she prepares for her first appearance at the World Cup, she will aims to leave an indelible mark on the grandest stage of women's football.