By Akinwale Kasali
Coach Thomas Dennerby’s side, the Super Falcons of Nigeria are gearing up to stage a superlative performance against the Canadian ladies in a friendly match in preparation for the 2019 FIFA World Cup to be held in France in few months time.
The nine-time African champions pummeled Iceland first division side, UMF Selfoss 6-1 on Friday, the Super Falcons face a big test when they square up against their Canadian counterparts in a friendly match in Murcia, Spain later this evening.
Following earlier tests against the likes of China and Belgium in the run-up to the Women’s World Cup in France in June, the nine-time African champions will be able to measure their progress against the Canadians, who have promised to field their full team on the day.
Both countries began talks for this encounter during the draw ceremony of the World Cup in France in December last year.
Dennerby and Canadian coach, Kenneth Heiner-Møller have promised to send out their strongest squads on the turf of the Pinatar Stadium for a real test, two months before the showpiece begins in France.
Heiner-Møller has made it known he values the encounter with the African champions, as it would enable him to anticipate what to expect against the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon, who Canada tackle in their first match of the World Cup in Montpellier on June 10. The North Americans will also play New Zealand and The Netherlands in the group phase.
On their part, the Falcons will open their campaign against Norway in Reims two days earlier. Nigeria will also confront Korea Republic in Grenoble on June 12, before taking on tournament hosts France in Rennes, five days later.
Nigeria and Canada have locked horns twice at the Women’s World Cup. The Falcons came from behind to tie their group phase encounter 3-3 in Norway in 1995. In 2011, at the Rudolf-Harbig Stadion in Dresden, Germany, Nigeria pipped Canada 1-0 in another group phase encounter.