Nigeria captain and record-setter at the 9th FIFA Women’s World Cup that began on Thursday, Onome Ebi, says she’s in ‘absolutely great mood’ ahead of Nigeria’s Group B clash with Canada in Melbourne on Friday afternoon.
The venerable central defender is the oldest player at the competition at the age of 40, and is attending her sixth World Cup finals alongside Canada captain Christine Sinclair and Brazil forward Marta.
“I feel really good about this World Cup. It is going to be a lot different. We are ready and committed as a team to make Nigeria proud. Personally, I am in an absolutely great mood.
“A lot will ride on our first match against Canada and what we’re able to take out of that. Which is why we are fully focused. Since our arrival in Melbourne on Thursday, we have been talking about nothing else. Our spirit is high, and we are confident of a positive result.”
Nigeria and Canada go toe-to-toe at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium starting at 12.30pm Friday (3:30am in Nigeria), with Onome Ebi and Sinclair to shake hands in pre-match formalities.
“I respect her for what she has done, scoring 190 international goals. But we will have to put all that aside for the 90 minutes of the match.
The Nigeria defender will win her 108th cap in Friday’s tie, while playing her 15th FIFA World Cup match.
Nigeria reached the Round of 16 at the last tournament in France four years ago, but Ebi says the Super Falcons are aiming higher this time around.
“Our target is high, but we want to take it one match at a time. The focus for now is Canada, and then we can plan and strategize for the next opponents after that.” The team will be hoping to go top of the table after their first group game.