Why Okobi-Okeoghene & Imo replaced Oparanozie & Ihezuo in Nigeria’s WAFCON squad

Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene and Anam Imo have replaced China based duo of Desire Oparanozie and Chiwendu Ihezuo in Nigeria’s provisional squad for Women’s Africa Cup of Nations next month in Morocco, according to the Nigeria Football Federation on Sunday.

Sweden based duo of Okobi-Okeoghene and Imo were surprise exclusions in Randy Waldrum’s 32-woman provisional squad for the upcoming continent’s showpiece encounters as the Super Falcons eye their record-extending 10th African title.

The Nigeria Football Federation, on Sunday, confirmed it via its official Twitter account saying: “Just In: Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene has been called up to replace Chinwendu Ihezuo and Anam Imo will replace Desire Oparanozie.”

Okobi-Okeoghene’s inclusion calm the nerves of livid Nigerian fans following her impressive form for Eskilstuna, providing two assists and four goals, including consecutive strikes against Orebro and Brommapojkarna wins. 

Imo, on her part, makes a return to the squad after being dropped for Gift Monday despite her fine form for Pitea, whom she had netted four times for in the current Damallsvenskan campaign.

As it stands, Okobi-Okeoghene will be eyeing her sixth consecutive appearance at the African showpiece, while Imo will hope to make the final 24-woman squad to realise back-to-back outing following her debut in 2018.

Althrough the Nigeria’s football body and head coach Waldrum are yet to offer the reason behind the latest changes, SavidNews understands the current lockdown to contain the latest Covid-19 outbreak in China barred Wuhan’s Oparanozie and Guangdong Meizhou Hakka’s Ihezuo from making the Morocco trip and will have their spots taken by the Eskilstuna midfielder and the Pitea forward.

Oparanozie’s omission also means she will miss earning her fifth appearance and fourth consecutive outing at the Women’s Afcon, while Ihezuo will not achieve her second stint after 2018 debut.

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