The Super Falcons of Nigeria has been given a major boost ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup that will hold in June this summer. The Nigerians have been drawn to play Norway, France and South Korea in Group A of the competition but the Norwegians will be at the competition without their best player.
Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg, who has chosen not to play for Norway since 2017, has been left out of their squad for the Women’s World Cup in France. The Lyon striker has not featured for Norway since they were knocked out of the Women’s European Championship in 2017 without scoring a goal.
The 23-year-old, who became the inaugural winner of the women’s Ballon d’Or award last December, has taken a stand against her home federation because of frustrations with the state of women’s game in Norway.
Coach Martin Sjogren said in February that it was unlikely Hegerberg would feature in the tournament, which runs from June 7 to July 7.
“We tried to solve it, we had meetings, but she decided not to play,” Sjogren told BBC World Service. “As a coach, you need to focus on the players who want to be a part of the team and Ada doesn’t.” Hegerberg’s sister, Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Andrine, is also absent from the 23-man squad.
Chelsea’s Maria Thorisdottir and Maren Mjelde are included in the squad, as is forward Caroline Graham Hansen, who has scored 14 goals for Wolfsburg in all competitions this season. Norway kick off their World Cup campaign in Group A against Nigeria in Reims on June 8.
Meanwhile, Super Falcons’ coach, Thomas Dennerby has promised to improve on the team’s goal scoring ability before the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off 07 June in France. The Swedish premised this promise on the team’s recent performance in their build-up to the World Cup, and admitted that the team need to improve their goals scoring ability.
“We definitely need to work on our attacking play. We need to work on creating chances against the best teams. When you go to a World Cup where we will play against Norway, Korea Republic and France, it will be a totally new challenge for the players. We need to work on our build-up play and trying to give the players more confidence on the ball,” Dennerby concluded.
Do you agree that Ada Hegerberg’s absence would be felt by the Norwegians and the Super Falcons have a chance of qualifying from the group? Please share your thoughts and opinion in the comment section.