The Slay Ballers 2.0 – FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 – Nigeria vs Canada Match Preview

After co-hosts Australia and New Zealand try to start well against Ireland and Norway respectively, Nigeria, the most experienced African team, will be taking on the 2020 Olympic gold medalists, Canada in a fixture that promises to be as exciting as can be. Led by experienced and serial title winner Christine Sinclair, Canada will be looking to lay the foundation for a strong campaign by beating Nigeria. This will be no easy feat, however, as Nigeria also has its own stars and experienced players. All of these make this fixture a mouthwatering one for the second day, and we all cannot wait for the tournament to get underway.

Key players for Nigeria are Asisat Oshoala, longtime defender Onome Ebi, and Rasheedat Ajibade. Asisat, a proven goalscorer and title winner who currently turns out for league and European champions Barcelona, will be key in their fight in going further than their quarterfinal fight in 1999. No African team has gone beyond the quarterfinal since then, and twenty-eight-year-old Oshoala and her counterparts will be looking to break this hoodoo this year. Rasheedat Ajibade, commonly known as “Rash” and “The Girl With The Blue Hair,” has been part of the Nigeria setup from its youth team, showing both experience and longevity, even though she is just twenty-three years old. She currently plays for Atletico Madrid, in the same league as Asisat. Onome Ebi, now aged forty, has played in Nigeria’s past five World Cups, and will be looking to add her sixth. She will be targeting Nigeria’s 2000 quarterfinal elimination, as she has never hit that mark in her previous five competitions.

Two-time Olympic bronze medalists Canada, on the other hand, will be looking to Captain Christine Sinclair, currently the most capped female Canadian soccer player with 323 appearances to lead the charge and do one better than in the 2000 World Cup where they took fourth place, which is their best performance at any World Cup so far. They are currently the defending champions of the Summer Olympics football category. Forty-year-old Sinclair, who holds the record for most international goals scored by either men or women (190) and one of three players of either sex to score at five World Cups (Marta and Cristiano Ronaldo share this record), will be appearing at her sixth World Cup. The forward will be looking to add to her World Cup goals and claim bragging rights, till it is broken at least.

Both teams are however having internal financial issues at the moment; funds were not made available for tournament use, which is sure to affect preparation. It gets even worse for Canada, where its federation is rumored to file for bankruptcy soon.

However, this should not deter both teams from the chance to write their names in footballing history by playing at their best in the World Cup. We know how good both teams can be at their peak, and how far they can challenge in this tournament. Canada is surely favorite, but football is always a funny and highly unpredictable event, and being a Nigerian myself, I am rooting for Nigeria. We look forward to getting a top-tier performance from both sides. Get set, people!

The Slay Ballers 2.0 – FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 – Nigeria vs Canada Match Preview

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