By Femi Atolagbe
The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF has confirmed that the newly renovated Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja will host the first leg of the 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations, AWCON qualifier against the Lady Elephants of Ivory Coast in February.
The NFF made the confirmation in a release on Thursday. It would be the first time in decades the team would be playing in the stadium after years of abandonment.
Head Coach, Randy Waldrum has invited a total of 35 players to the camp of the Super Falcons ahead of next month’s final qualifying fixture for the 12th Africa Women’s Cup of Nations, against Cote d’Ivoire.
The Super Falcons and the Lady Elephants will tango over two legs for one slot at the Africa Cup of Nations to be hosted by Morocco in the month of July. Both teams square up at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Friday, 18th February with the return at the Stade Robert Champroux in Abidjan on Wednesday, 23rd February.
To reach this stage, nine-time African champions Nigeria edged the Black Queens of Ghana 2-1 on aggregate in October 2021, while the Lady Elephants blew away their counterparts from the Niger Republic 20-0 on aggregate.
Waldrum has included players that lit up the Federal capital during a nine-day training camp in November 2021.
Captain Asisat Oshoala is called alongside Onome Ebi, Rasheedat Ajibade, Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene, Rita Chikwelu, Desire Oparanozie, Francisca Ordega, Osinachi Ohale and goalkeepers Chiamaka Nnadozie and Tochukwu Oluehi. There are also England –based Ashleigh Plumptre, Toni Payne, Michelle Alozie, Yetunde Aluko, Esther Okoronkwo, Vivian Ikechukwu and Gift Monday.
All invited players are expected to arrive Abuja on Tuesday, 1st February.
The full list:
Goalkeepers: Chiamaka Nnadozie (Paris FC, France); Tochukwu Oluehi (Maccabi Kishronot Hadera, Israel); Christy Ohiaeriaku (Sunshine Queens); Yewande Balogun (USA).
Defenders: Rofiat Imuran (Rivers Angels); Glory Ogbonna (Santa Teresa FC, Spain); Onome Ebi (Minsk FC, Belarus); Osinachi Ohale (Deportivo Alaves, Spain); Ayomide Ojo (Edo Queens); Ashleigh Plumptre (Leicester City, England); Joy Duru (Nasarawa Amazons); Nicole Payne (West Virginia University, USA); Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash, USA); Akudo Ogbonna (Edo Queens).
Midfielders: Peace Efih (Kiryat Gat, Israel); Yetunde Aluko (WFC Ramat Hasharon, Israel); Amanda Mbadinuju (Bayelsa Queens); Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene (Eskilstuna FC, Sweden); Grace Igboamalu (Bayelsa Queens); 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); Amarachi Okoronkwo (Nasarawa Amazons); Deborah Abiodun (Rivers Angels).
Forwards: Esther Okoronkwo (AS Saint Etienne, France); Francisca Ordega (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Desire Oparanozie (Dijon FC, France); Vivian Ikechukwu (Rivers Angels); Gift Monday (FC Robo Queens); Juliet Bassey (Bayelsa Queens); Ifeoma Onumonu (NY/NJ Gotham FC, USA); Uchenne Kanu (Tigres Femenil, Mexico); Asisat Oshoala (FC Barcelona, Spain).