Nine-time African champions, Nigeria will set up a training camp in the Federal Capital, Abuja as from Monday, as part of preparations for the final round of qualification series for the 12th Women Africa Cup of Nations holding in Morocco in the summer of next year.
Head Coach Randy Waldrum has selected an equal blend of home-based and overseas-based professionals for the camping taking place between 22 – 30 November, and which is aimed at further improving the bond, affinity and familiarity among the group as well as the curation of tactical and technical methods that would work best for the squad in match situations. There are 15 home-based professionals and 15 foreign-based stars.
Leading the home-based players are forwards Gift Monday and Vivian Ikechukwu, who scored two goals each during the Aisha Buhari Invitational Tournament in Lagos in September, and there are also goalkeeper Onyinyechukwu Okeke, defender Akudo Ogbonna, midfielder Goodness Onyebuchi and forward Mary-Ann Ezenagu.
Defender Onome Ebi leads the overseas-based crew, alongside midfielder Rasheedat Ajibade, defenders Patricia George and Ashley Plumptre and forward Desire Oparanozie.
The home camping comes a few months after a similar camping programme in the Austrian capital, Vienna and towards the end of what has been a busy year for the Falcons, in which they also participated in the Turkish Women’s Cup Tournament, the USWNT Summer Series in the United States of America and the Aisha Buhari Invitational Tournament in Lagos.
The team has reached the final round of the 12th Women AFCON qualifiers after a 2-1 aggregate defeat of arch-rivals Ghana and will confront another strong West African side, Cote d’Ivoire for a place in Morocco. The final round of qualifiers will hold in February next year, with the first leg taking place in Lagos.
ALL THE INVITED PLAYERS:
Goalkeepers: Onyinyechukwu Okeke (Bayelsa Queens); Ibubeleye Whyte (Rivers Angels); Uchenna Chukwu (Nasarawa Amazons)
Defenders: Onome Ebi (Minsk FC, Belarus); Maureen Okpala (Nasarawa Amazons); Patricia George (SC Sand, Germany); Ashley Plumptre (Leicester City, England); Miracle Joseph (Bayelsa Queens); Joy Duru (Nasarawa Amazons); Nicole Payne (West Virginia University, USA); Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash, USA); Glory Edet (Bayelsa Queens); Akudo Ogbonna (Edo Queens)
Midfielders: Adekite Dada (Watford FC, England); Peace Efih (Kiryat Gat, Israel); Yetunde Aluko (WFC Ramat Hasharon, Israel); Amanda Mbadinuju (Bayelsa Queens); Goodness Onyebuchi (Edo Queens); Grace Igboamalu (Bayelsa Queens); Toni Oyedupe Payne (Sevilla FC, Spain); Regina Otu (Minsk FC, Belarus); Christy Ucheibe (Minsk FC, Belarus)
Forwards: Rasheedat Ajibade (Atletico Madrid, Spain); Esther Okoronkwo (AS Saint Etienne, France); Mary-Ann Ezenagu (Rivers Angels); Desire Oparanozie (Dijon FC, France); Vivian Ikechukwu (Rivers Angels); Gift Monday (FC Robo); Juliet Bassey (Bayelsa Queens); Chinonyerem Macleans (Gonirk Leczna (Poland)