Women’s World Cup 2019: Nigeria’s Faith Michael out of tournament

Faith Michael is stretchered off the pitch during the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup match between Norway and Nigeria in Reims, France Nigeria has suffered a blow with veteran defender Faith Michael ruled out of the rest of the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France with a knee injury.

The 32-year-old, who plays for Swedish giants Pitea IF, was carried off on a stretcher after being caught by team-mate Oluehi during their 3-0 opening defeat to Norway. With the Super Falcons now facing a battle to stay in the tournament, they will have to play the must-win game against South Korea on Wednesday without Michael.

“Head coach Thomas Dennerby and team medics on Tuesday ruled veteran defender Faith Michael out of the tournament. She will take no further part in the championship, no matter how far the African champions get,” the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said in a statement.

“In Michael’s absence, petite Chidinma Okeke, a former junior international who featured for Nigeria at the Fifa U20 Women’s World Cup also staged in France last year summer, will start at right back.”

A three-time winner of the African Women’s Cup of Nations, Michael is one of the most experienced heads in the squad having made her debut in 2004. Formerly known as Faith Ikidi, the defender has been in the Scandinavia region since 2004 and helped Pitea IF to the 2018 Damallsvenskan title.

Michael began her professional career at local side Bayelsa Queens in 2001 and after three seasons she switched to Norwegian outfit Klepp IL. She was named the Swedish Damallsvenskan defender of the year in 2015. BBC

Pix: Faith Michael carried off stretcher