The centre back of the Super Falcons has been ably guarded by the capable feet of the evergreen ever present Onome Ebi and Osinachi Ohale in the soon-to-be concluded Women's Afcon.
But Ebi is absent for the third place playoff due to thigh injury that is set to keep her out for a few weeks.
It’s a shame we never got to see more of someone like Glory Ogbonna in this competition. I do hope she starts against Zambia in the absence of the immortal Ebi.
Moving forward, Ogbonna–Plumptre combination should provide a solid promontory for Nigeria at centre back. I think they will complement each other well with their respective abilities to sense danger and react as swiftly as the severity of the situation demands.
I have a feeling that Waldrum will retain Plumptre in the unusual left back position tomorrow and draft Ogbonna in the centre to replace Ebi. National team football is funny in the sense that coaches try to keep players happy even if it means fielding them in unnatural positions.
Plumptre’s confined mobility makes her a more suitable centre back which is why she plays there in club football.
After this tournament, we should hopefully have other viable centre backs emerge from the pool of diaspora or indigenous home and foreign based players.
Ebi–Ohale combo has really served us exceedingly well over the years and they suprised me joyfully in this tournament with their assured and compelling displays.
Whether they will be able to sustain this exemplary form into the world cup in 12 months time remains to be seen.
However, if the inevitable age-related cracks start to show in the aging duo of Ebi-Ohale, then we might see the emergence of a Super Falcons Oyinbo Wall in Plumptre and Zogg (who is recuperating from an injury).
But I am almost certain that Waldrum (if he is still in charge) will almost always lean towards having a back 3 against more formidable global oppositions. In which case I will go for a Zogg– Plumptre–Ogbonna combo.
Other viable and tantalising young and vibrant centres back options open to the Super Falcons are Oluwatosin Blessing Demehin (20 years old) and Chidima Okeke (21 years old), both of whom have featured under Randy Waldrum.
But for now, good luck to the ladies against Zambia . So long as we resist pressing the self – destruct button, we still have it in us to put other African pretenders in their place.
We are Nigeria, they can like it or lump it but we remain the giants of African football – despite their best or worst intentions.
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