Nigeria’s Super Falcons will be without their head coach, Randy Waldrum, when they clash with Ethiopia in a crucial African Women’s Nations Cup qualifier this Wednesday, Soccernet.ng reports.
Waldrum guided the Falcons to the knockout rounds of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in the summer.
The American tactician is aiming to help Nigeria make it to the Olympic Games for the first time in more than a decade.
However, Waldrum will not be in the dugout when the former African champions file out against Ethiopia in Addis Ababa in the first leg of the qualifier, as he is currently held up in the US due to prior commitments.
Waldrum, who also doubles as the University of Pittsburgh Panthers women’s head coach, is expected to be available for the return leg in Nigeria at the weekend.
Stepping up in his absence are the proficient Nigerian assistants Justin Madugu, Ann Chiejine, and Auwal Makwalla, who have collaborated closely with Waldrum for the past two years.
Led by Barcelona star Asisat Oshoala, the squad of nineteen players, including talents such as Chiamaka Nnadozie, Oluwatosin Demehin, and Rasheedat Ajibade, had their first official training session on Tuesday afternoon at the Abebe Bekila Stadium in Addis Ababa.
However, absent from the lineup are regulars Ashleigh Plumptre, Halimotu Ayinde, and Christy Ucheibe.
The Super Falcons take on Ethiopia on Wednesday, with the kick-off time set for 3.30 pm local time.
The return leg is slated for October 31, 2023, at the MKO Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.
The aggregate winner will then face off against the victor of the Cameroon/Uganda fixture for a shot at the final round of the qualification series.
Aiming to secure a spot in the Olympic women’s football event, the nine-time African champions, the Super Falcons, are looking to make a strong comeback after missing the previous three editions.