Onome Ebi: Her return from injury to first ever CAF nomination

Onome Ebi: Her return from injury to first ever CAF nomination

One player who has constantly been singled out for praise for her performance at the just concluded Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON) in Ghana is Onome Ebi despite only just returning to action after been out for a year due to a forearm injury.

The China based defender put up an impressive show in Ghana which was instrumental in the Super Falcons clinching a record 9th AWCON title and also earned her a top 11 nomination in the female player of the year category of the CAF Awards set to take place in January.

The Super Falcons captain sustained a forearm injury in the 2016 AWCON final against the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon; only returning to action after sealing a move to Chinese side, Henan Huishang FC at the end of February 2018.

As always, she’s been excellent for her club since returning to action and also contributing in the goals department.

“Being the captain of the team is something that really motivated me, because I believe I’m carrying everybody on my shoulders and they have to follow my steps so that motivated me,” Onome Ebi said on a memorable AWCON performance in Ghana.

Even at 35, Onome Ebi still shows class, brilliantly reading the game and preventing the opposition from having any joy. Apart from that slip up in the opening game against South Africa through which Thembi Kgalana scored, she alongside Osinachi Ohale were able to cut out the threat of the pacy Mary Mwakapila and the Racheal Kundanaji of Zambia and South Africa’s Kgatlana in the final.

Not only was she a rock in defence, Onome Ebi’s leadership qualities as one of the team’s captions shone through on and off the pitch; and in tensed and relaxed situations. After the loss against South Africa and Zambia’s 5-0 win over Equatorial Guinea, the Super Falcons needed to win by a large goal margin against a high flying Zambian team.

Desire Oparanozie gave the Falcons the lead late on in the first half but fans and the players remained tensed considering the task at hand. The much needed second goal refused to come with numerous chances falling to Asisat Oshoala but it just wasn’t her day as she couldn’t find the back of the net. It took Onome Ebi, the captain on the day to call her aside and speak to her before Oshoala eventually concentrated more on creating chances as Francisca Ordega turned in the rebound from her initial cross for Oparanozie’s strike which hit the upright to double the Falcon’s lead. After that, she assisted Rasheedat Ajibade’s goal as the Falcons added a third.

Like fine wine, Onome Ebi gets better despite her age. Whether she will be able to replicate similar performance at the World Cup in France against more technical European teams is another challenge entirely but for now, let’s celebrate the “Old Lady” like Thomas Dennerby once said.

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