By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
Nigeria’s senior women’s football team Head Coach, Randy Waldrum has unveiled a provisional list of 25 players for the upcoming ‘Summer Series’ tour of the United States of America (USA), where the nine-time African Champions will play four-time World Champions, USA, European side, Portugal and North American nation, Jamaica.
Waldrum has made it known that 23 players will make the trip to the US, meaning two players will be dropped from the provisional squad.
Team captain and FC Barcelona feminine forward, Asisat Lamina Oshoala, fresh from becoming the first African player to earn a UEFA Women’s Champions League Cup gold, top the list with Belarus- based veteran defender, Onome Ebi; Paris FC youthful goalkeeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie; Sweden-based midfielder Halimatu Ayinde and Athletico Madrid Feminine forward, Rasheedat Ajibade also called.
According to a press statement signed by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire, Waldrum has also included 10 home-based players in the provisional squad after he was on ground to watch the Nigeria Women’s Football League (NWFL) Super Six play-off played last month at late Otunba Dipo Dina Stadium in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun state.
The ‘Summer Series’ matches will be played at the BBVA Stadium in Houston and at the brand-new, $240million Q2 Stadium in Austin built by the newest club in the Major League Soccer, Austin FC. Both cities are in the State of Texas and the clash between the Super Falcons and the US Women A team will be the first-ever football match at the state-of-the-art Q2.
The glamour tournament will run between June 10 and 16, and will see the Super Falcons clashing with their Jamaican counterparts in Houston on the June 10 before taking on Portugal three days later at the same BBVA Stadium.
Their last match is against the Team USA, Four-time winners of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and Four-time winners of the Olympics Women’s Football Gold, at the Q2 Stadium on 16th June.
Team USA is the only one of the four participating teams in the ‘Summer Series’ that will compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics Games just as the match against Nigeria will mark the first time the USA has ever faced the Super Falcons outside of a FIFA Women’s World Cup final and it will be just the third-ever friendly against an African country, with the previous two coming against South Africa.
But PromptNews can exclusively report that the first international friendly match between USA and Nigeria billed for April 26, 2003 at RFK Stadium to commemorate the opening of the newly built Nigerian Embassy Annex in Washington DC was cancelled by the then Nigerian football authorities to the annoyance of the host country.
Meanwhile, a closer look at the players roaster released by Waldrum, about 85% of the familiar faces including those who were in the France 2019 Women’s World Cup final squad have been invited.
Excluded from the list are World Cup captain, Desire Oparanozie of Dijon FCO; Anam Imo, Pitea IF- Sweden; Ngozi Ebere, Arna -Bjornar- Norway; Veronica Ihezue, Henan Jianye- China; Poland-based Alice Ogebe and Chinaza Uchendu of Linkopings, Sweden.
THE FULL LIST OF INVITED PLAYERS:
Goalkeepers: Tochukwu Oluehi (CD Pozoalbense, Spain); Chiamaka Nnadozie (Paris FC, France); Inyene Etim (Abia Angels FC)
Defenders: Onome Ebi (Minsk FC, Belarus); Gloria Ogbonna (Edo Queens FC); Osinachi Ohale (Madrid CFF, Spain); Oluwatosin Dimehin (Sunshine Queens FC); Chidinma Okeke (Madrid CFF, Spain); Abidemi Ibe (Bayelsa Queens FC); Patricia George (Sands FC, Germany); Esther Ogbonna (Sunshine Queens FC)
Midfielders: Rita Chikwelu (Madrid CFF, Spain); Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene (Eskilstuna FC, Sweden); Celine Ottah (Bayelsa Queens FC); Halimatu Ayinde (Eskilstuna FC, Sweden); Oyedupe Payne (Sevilla FC, Spain); Amanda Mbadi (Bayelsa Queens FC)
Forwards: Asisat Oshoala (FC Barcelona, Spain); Vivian Ikechukwu (Rivers Angels FC); Uchenna Kanu (Linkopings FC, Sweden); Rasheedat Ajibade (Atletico Madrid FC, Spain); Francisca Ordega (Levante FC, Spain); Gift Monday (FC Robo Queens); Joy Bokiri (Bayelsa Queens FC); Charity Adule (SD Eibars FC, Spain).