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Ebi becomes first African player to feature in five Women’s World Cups

Ebi becomes first African player to feature in five Women’s World Cups
May 28
00:35 2019

When the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup gets underway in France on June 7, Super Falcons legend, Onome Ebi will be the first African woman to appear in five mundials if she features for Nigeria.

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It is on record that Brazil’s Formiga and Japan’s Homare Sawa hold the highest record of playing in six different Fifa Women’s World Cup.

Formiga featured at the 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, and 2015 Fifa women’s world cups, while Sawa played at the 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, and 2015 games.

Kristine Lilly, Bente Nordby, Birgit Prinz, Karina LeBlanc, Nadine Angerer and Christie Rampone fall into the five World Cup category

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Ebi is the most active defender in the Super Falcons fold. The dependable player is currently on the books of Henan Huishang.

She is without a doubt a regular in the set-up of the ambitious African team. Ebi’s ability has never been questioned as she has played alongside great defenders like Yinka Kudaisi, Kikelomo Ajayi and a hosts of others at home and abroad.

She has been consistent and her inclusion in the Nigerian side has never caused ripples among the ever critical Naija football juntas.

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Rave reviews were showered on her by technocrats of the game at the formative stage of her career. In one of her ruthless shows, she gave Perpetua Nkwocha no room to operate, during a Nigeria Female League match between Omidiran Babes and the highly fancied Pelican Stars.

Fans predicted that a star had arrived. A delighted Sam Okpodu, then the head coach of Super Falcons was in attendance. He made recommendations and invited her to the national side.

THE JOURNEY TO THE TOP

In 2003, she made the cut to the FIFA Women’s World Cup. To some followers of the game, it was a surprise considering the big names in the squad.

She was meant to understudy more experienced Florence Omagbemi, Nkiru Okosieme, Florence Iweta and Kikelomo Ajayi. She featured in a couple of games during the tournament.

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After the competition, big spending Bayelsa Queens came calling. She accepted an offer which she described as, “good for my career”. Yenegoa was a good hunting ground for her. She won laurels and made her fanatical followers happy.

In 2008, Onome announced that she was not going to extend her deal with Bayelsa Queens. She moved to Sakarya Spor Club on a one-year deal. She had stints at Pitea FC and Djurgardens IF, both in the Swedish Damallsvenskan.

The imposing defender joined Turkish female team Atasehir Belediyesi Spor Club to aid the team’s UEFA Champions League project (Women’s Version). Onome captained Atasehir to the league title in 2012.

The Nigeria centre-back was often been utilized as a forward. She scored 27 goals in the 2013 campaign, thus catapulting her team to the second spot in the Turkish Professional Female League.

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In a bid to gain more prominence at top level, the libero returned to the Swedish Damallsvenskan in 2013 to play for Sunnanå SK before going to Belarus to play for FC Minsk in the Belarusian Premier League.

While in Eastern European, she was a member of the team that won the Belarusian Premier League, the Belarusian Women’s Cup and the Belarusian Women’s Super Cup twice.

She currently defends the colours of Henan Huishang, where she signed in 2018. She has made a total of 81 international caps in the colours of her fatherland.

Nigeria are in what has been perceived as “Group of Death” at the Mundial. Norway, South Korea and hosts France are the Super Falcons’ foes in the group stage.

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In Reims, they will play their first match of the World Cup finals against Norway on Saturday, June 8.

They will then tackle Korea Republic in Grenoble on June 12 before concluding their group phase assignment against host nation France in Rennes on June 17.

A lot will depend on Ebi’s leadership qualities at the back if the Falcons are to qualify from the difficult group.

She always relishes the big moments and should come to the party readily prepared.

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