Morocco 2022: Waldrum names WAFCON provisional squad without Okobi

Nigeria women’s head coach, Randy Waldrum has announced his provisional squad without the midfield maestro as they embark on a training tour in Morocco for the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.

On Monday, Waldrum announced a preliminary 32-woman squad for the country’s senior women team ahead of the 2022 WAFCON in Morocco which begins on July 2 and ends on July 23.

One of the notable absence is Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene, who won the 2015 Nigeria Women’s Player of the Year following her expliots at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada 2015.

The 28-year-old was part of the Super Falcons campaign at the last five WAFCON tournaments of 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018, winning four of them and also participated in two straight FIFA Women’s World Cup outings in Canada 2015 and France 2019, where the team reached the knockout stage.

Her hopes of making a sixth WAFCON appearance was dashed despite her fine start the 2022 season for Eskilstuna United, scoring twice and providing one assist in nine appearances as the coached opted for younger and less-experienced players in keeping with his philosophy of building team for the future.

Waldrum has called up 32-player squad, comprising of four goalkeepers, nine defenders, 10 midfielders and nine strikers, with goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, defender Ashlieph Plumptre, midfielders Rasheedat Ajibade and Toni Payne, and forwards Francisca Ordega, Desire Oparanozie on the list.

The Super Falcons’ team, captained by Onome Ebi, is largely filled with members of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, including the reigning African Women Player of the Year Asisat Oshoala.

Surprise selected talents who made the provisional squad are former U20 and Nasarawa Amazons goalkeeper Rita Akarekor Turkey based defender Ugochi Emenayo of Konak Belediyespor Izmir and Opeyemi Sunday of Edo Queens as well as her midfield teammate Suliat Abideen.

The African champions were drawn in Group C alongside four-time finalists South Africa, plus first timers in Botswana and Burundi and will embark on a two-week intensive training camp in Morocco.

The Super Falcons will begin their campaign in the preliminary stages against Banyana Banyana at the 12th WAFCON in Rabat on 4th July before taking on the Mare at the same venue and then Burundi three days later.

NIGERIA PROVISIONAL SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Chiamaka Nnadozie (Paris FC, France); Tochukwu Oluehi (Maccabi Kishronot Hadera, Israel); Rita Akarekor (Nasarawa Amazons); Yewande Balogun (Coppermine United, USA)

Defenders: Opeyemi Sunday (Edo Queens); Glory Ogbonna (Santa Teresa FC, Spain); Onome Ebi (En Avant Guingamp, France); Osinachi Ohale (Deportivo Alaves, Spain); Ugochi Emenayo (Konak Belediyespor Izmir, Turkey); Ashleigh Plumptre (Leicester City, England); Nicole Payne (West Virginia University, USA); Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash, USA); Akudo Ogbonna (Edo Queens)

Midfielders: Peace Efih (Kiryat Gat, Israel); Amanda Uju Mbadi (Atasehir Belediyespor, Turkey); Halimatu Ayinde (Eskilstuna FC, Sweden); Charity Adule (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain); Toni Oyedupe Payne (Sevilla FC, Spain); Regina Otu (Minsk FC, Belarus); Christy Ucheibe (SL Benfica, Portugal); Rasheedat Ajibade (Atletico Madrid, Spain); Rita Chikwelu (Madrid CFF, Spain); Suliat Abideen (Edo Queens)

Forwards: Anam Imo (Pitea IF, Sweden); Francisca Ordega (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Desire Oparanozie (Wuhan Chegu Jianghan, China); Vivian Ikechukwu (WFC Gintra, Lithuania); Chinonyerem Macleans (GSK Gornik Leczna, Poland); Chinwendu Ihezuo (Meizhou Hakka Club, China); Ifeoma Onumonu (NY/NJ Gotham FC, USA); Uchenna Kanu (Tigres Femenil, Mexico); Asisat Oshoala (FC Barcelona, Spain)   

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