Nigeria’s Super Falcons has participated in each FIFA Women’s World Cup final since the tournament’s inception in 1991.
In Australia and New Zealand this year, they’ll give it another shot in the hopes of realising their full potential as a talented team.
We include brief biographies of each of the 23 athletes Randy Waldrum chose for the competition.
A young goalkeeper who has come through the development ranks with Nigeria and has played at under-17 and under-20 level. She was just 19 at the 2019 Women’s World Cup where her clean sheet against South Korea made her the youngest keeper to claim a shutout in the tournament’s history. Has played for Paris FC since 2020.
A vastly experienced goalkeeper who has just turned 36 years of age, she is the veteran of three previous World Cups and has also been to the Olympic Games. She has played club football in Belarus, Norway, Israel and Turkey, where she currently turns out for Hakkarigücü Spor.
A new player in the national team, she was born and raised in the United States but to Nigerian parents. She currently plays for French second-tier side St Etienne and made her debut for the Super Falcons in 2023 having been part of squads for the previous two years. Balogun is 33 years of age. She played college football in the United States and has already tried her hand as an assistant coach.
The captain of the side and a key member of the defence, Ebi is now 40 but shows no sign of slowing down. She has had a 20-year career with the Super Falcons and is heading to her sixth World Cup, the first African player to have featured in that many global finals. She has played club football in Sweden, Belarus, China and, currently, Spain. There will be few more experienced players Down Under.
A stalwart of the national team, she can play right-back or centre-back and has spent well over a decade playing international football. This will be her fourth World Cup, while she is also a four-time winner of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations. She was also previously named in the IFFHS CAF Woman Team of the Decade. She currently plays club football in Spain, but has also featured for teams in Italy, United States and Sweden.
Ogbonna is one of the younger members of the squad and turns out for Turkish giants Besiktas. She is a former junior international and played at the Under-20 Women’s World Cup in both 2016 and 2018, and has also played club football in Sweden and Spain. This will be her first World Cup.
Born in the English city of Leicester, Plumptre qualified for the Super Falcons via a Nigerian-born grandfather. She represented England at junior level, right up to under-23 level, but did not make a senior appearance. The centre-back debuted for Nigeria in 2022 and plays for hometown club Leicester City, though having spent a number of years in the United States. She is 25.
Teenager Imuran has been rewarded with a senior team call-up having impressed for the Nigeria Under-20 side, including at the World Cup. She currently plays for French side Reims and while she might struggle to get game-time Down Under, this will be a huge learning curve for the 19-year-old.
Born in Apple Valley, California in the United States, Alozie has Nigerian parents and previously played for the prestigious Yale University before a serious ACL injury ended her stay there. She played club football for Kazakhstan side BIIK Kazygurt but moved to the National Women’s Soccer League to play for Houston Dash in 2021. She debuted for Nigeria that same year.
Another player at French side Reims. Demehin has burst onto the scene at the club this season after signing from Rovers Angels back home. She played at the Under-20 World Cup in 2022, which brought her to global attention, and also debuted for Nigeria last year.
A well-travelled midfielder who is currently on the books of Norwegian side FC Rosengård, but has also played in the United States, Belarus and Sweden. She was a junior international with Nigeria, so has come through the ranks and made her senior national debut in 2015. She has been to two previous World Cups and is currently 28 years old.
Nicknamed ‘Rash’, the speedy forward currently plays for Spanish topflight side Atletico Madrid having also had a spell in Norway. She is a stalwart of the junior national teams and went to World Cups at age-group level, but also appeared in the senior tournament in France in 2019. She is a dangerous player with the ball at her feet.
Born in Birmingham, Alabama in the United States to Nigerian parents, she is from a family of footballers with both brother Stephan and sister Nicole playing professionally. The latter has also played for the Super Falcons. She was a junior with the US right up until U23 level, before making her senior debut with Nigeria in 2021. She played her club football at Ajax Amsterdam and current side Sevilla in Spain.
Industrious midfielder who plays for Portuguese topflight side Benfica having also had a spell in Sweden. The 22-year-old is a junior international with Nigeria and has been a big reason for Benfica’s recent tremendous success in the Portuguese league. She joined the club in 2020 and has won three league titles in a row.
A teenager who made her debut for Nigeria in 2022 but also played at the Under-20 World Cup that same year, she is seen as a hot talent for the future. She was a star of that junior tournament, where she helped her side to the quarterfinals. How much game-time she will get Down Under remains to be seen, but this will be valuable experience for future tournaments.
She scored in the 3-0 win against New Zealand in her last outing with the side and has been a more or less regular with the side since making her debut last year. The 22-year-old was born in London, England but has opted to represent the land of her forefathers. She is currently playing college football for Florida State.
A teammate of South Africa’s Thembi Kgatlana at Racing Louisville in the United States, Kanu has been a goal machine wherever she has played. The 26-year-old has previously turned out for clubs in Spain, Sweden and Mexico, and debuted for Nigeria in 2019. She also played college football in the United States.
The striker currently plays for Tenerife in the Spanish league having played topflight football since she was 14. The 21-year-old joined Tenerife in 2022 having played for Nigeria in the 2021 Turkish women’s Cup, helping Nigeria become the first African side to win the competition. She was named Nigerian league Premiership Player of the Season in 2022 ahead of her move to Spain.
Born in Rancho Cucamonga, California in United States, she played college football at the University of California in Berkeley. She has been a stalwart of the National Women’s Soccer League since making her debut for Portland Thorns in 2018, also turning out for Reign FC and Gotham FC. She played Under-23 football for the US, but switched allegiances to Nigeria in 2021.
The star of the team and one of the best players ever to come out of the African continent, 28-year-old Oshoala is a huge influence for Nigeria. She has played for Liverpool and Arsenal in England, had a spell in China and currently stars for Barcelona in Spain. She is an attacking midfielder who was nicknamed ‘Seedorf’ after the Dutch midfielder. She made her Nigeria debut in 2013 and played at the last two World Cup finals.
An experienced forward who has played all over the world, in Turkey, Russia, Germany, France and China. She is a veteran of the senior national team since 2010 and has played in the last three World Cups. She has also won four Women’s Africa Cup of Nations titles.
Ordega was a teenager when she made her Nigeria debut and has played the last three World Cup tournaments, netting against Sweden in a 3-3 draw in 2015. She has played club football in Sweden, United States, Australia, Spain and China, and has most recently been with Russian side CSKA Moscow. The 29-year-old has bags of experience.
Okoronkwo cut her teeth in college football in the United States having been born in Nigeria but raised in Richmond, Texas. She is currently at French side St Etienne and made her Nigeria debut in 2021, scoring her first goal in February this year against Costa Rica. She followed that up a few months later with another strike against Haiti.