Onome Ebi: 5 interesting things about Super Falcons star playing in her 6th World Cup

Super Falcons’ captain Onome Ebi has been criticized for for not retiring after the World Cup

Onome Ebi: 5 interesting things about Super Falcons star playing in her 6th World Cup

Ayoola Kelechi 09:40 - 23.07.2023

Super Falcons' captain Onome Ebi is one of the most iconic players at 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, here are five interesting things you should know about the Nigerian centre-back

Regardless of how the Super Falcons of Nigeria fare at the Women’s World Cup, one thing is certain, which is that in captain Onome Ebi, the team will have the honour of boasting one of the most iconic players at the tournament.

Here are five interesting facts about Ebi that every fan of Nigeria’s Super Falcons should know.

Onome Ebi has played for 23 years

The veteran centre-back has enjoyed a career that now spans up to 23 years since she first turned out for Nigerian side Omidiran Babes.

Ebi turned 40 years old on Monday, May 8, 2023, and took to social media to celebrate the special occasion.
Ebi turned 40 years old on Monday, May 8, 2023, and took to social media to celebrate the special occasion.

The Super Falcons’ captain's longevity has been remarkable, as she shows no signs of retiring anytime soon despite having more than two decades of experience under her belt.

Speaking with BBC ahead of the World Cup, Ebi credits her hard work and discipline as the main factors behind her being able to maintain her standing in football for so many years.

She said, "It takes more than 20 years of playing top football to play in six tournaments. It's huge. When you're dedicated and disciplined, it can take you beyond your wildest imagination.

"I love this game, and I always wanted to give my best and continue for as long as possible. I have managed to stay relevant in the team through sheer hard work."

Super Falcons' captain Ebi Has played for 10 different teams

Her long career has seen her traverse several clubs across three continents, playing in Africa, Asia, and Europe during her extensive top-flight career.

A classic journeywoman, Ebi has appeared for 10 clubs in her career, including two spells at Belarusian outfit FC Minsk.

After starting her career with Omidiran Babes and Bayelsa United in Nigeria, Ebi has gone on to play in Sweden, Belarus, Turkey, China, and Spain, winning a number of top-flight honours as souvenirs of a brilliant career.

At the club level, she has won the Turkish Women's First Football League twice with Ataşehir Belediyespor as well as the Belarusian Women’s Premier League, Belarusian Cup, and Super Cup with FC Minsk.

One of only five women to appear at six or more World Cups

The Super Falcons captain’s incredible career has seen her represent her country on the highest continental and world stage for Nigeria, winning four Women’s AFCON tournaments on the way to becoming a veteran of the national team.

Ebi added to her remarkable Super Falcons career by being named in Nigeria’s squad for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia, becoming one of only five women in the tournament’s history to have appeared at six tournaments.

Two other players at this year’s edition share the honour with Ebi; Brazil’s Marta and Canada’s Cristine Sinclair, who missed a penalty in the opening game against Nigeria.

Ebi is the only African player on the list and is also the only player from the continent to have played at five or more World Cups, male or female.

Started her senior career before seven of her teammates were born

At 40 years old and with more than 100 appearances for the national team, Ebi is the most experienced player on the Super Falcons’ team, and she gets to mentor a number of players, some of whom had not been born when she began her career.

Assistant Super Falcons captain and matchday 1 hero, Chiamaka Nnadozie, as well as Rofiat Imuran, Oluwatosin Demehin, Onyi Echegini, Christy Ucheibe, Deborah Abiodun, and Gift Monday, were all born after the year 2000 when Ebi became a professional.

The former Minsk and Djugarden defender has been a real leader in the dressing room, and the current Super Falcons’ stars will have more reason to idolise Ebi who has seen the best and worst of football.

Ebi’s parents almost stopped her from playing football

The Super Eagles captain has enjoyed a storied career, winning numerous trophies and making her family proud, but her progress as a footballer was nearly truncated after a young Ebi was discouraged from playing football by her parents.

The defender recalled convincing her parents to allow her to play football with unconventional methods when speaking to CAF.

Super Falcons captain Onome Ebi
Super Falcons captain Onome Ebi

She said, "We have so many challenges as female footballers because it is not that easy. The one that really and almost stopped me from playing happened to be my parents.

"They want me to stop playing football and focus on my education because they thought that it is affecting my education. They want me to be something else and not a Footballer. I made them understand that this is what I love doing and I can’t stop it.

"There are times when they will ask me to stop training and I will fall sick on the hospital bed. Then my dad thought it wise that there is nothing they can do to stop me.

After breaking several records in her career as a footballer, there is little doubt that Ebi and her parents will look back on that time and know that they made the right choice.

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