Super Falcons off to WAFU tourney without top stars

Author: Beatrice Laryea
Coach Thomas Denerby and the team posed for the cameras ahead of their departure

The Super Falcons of Nigeria on Tuesday left Abuja for Abidjan, the capital of Cote d’Ivoire to participate in the 2019 West Africa Football Union (WAFU) Zone B tournament without their top stars that won the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations in Ghana.

Star forward Asisat Oshoala, skipper Onome Ebi, Francisca Ordega, Desiree Oparaninie, Rita Chikwelu, Rashidat Ajibade and goalkeeper Tochuku Oluehi were all missing from the list as Swede coach, Thomas Dennerby preferred to reserve them for their upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign in France in June.

Instead, Coach Dennerby gave opportunity to defender and former team captain Evelyn Nwabuoku and midfielder Amarachi Okoronkwo and 18 other home-based players in the list of 20 Super Falcons to represent Nigeria at the eight-nation tournament which starts from May 8 to 18.

According to reports, Dennerby stated last week that the WAFU Tournament was important for the home-based professionals, as it would determine the number of them that would be included in his list for the final training camp at the Avita Resort in Bad Tatzmannsdorf, Austria ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The Nigerians finished third at the last edition in 2018 and they will play in Group B alongside Burkina Faso, Niger Republic and Mali. Host nation Cote d’Ivoire will tackle Senegal, Togo and Ghana in Group A.

The Falcons will take on Burkina Faso in their first match on Thursday, May 9 before tackling their counterparts from Niger Republic on Saturday. Their last match in the group phase will be against Mali on Tuesday, May 14.

Below is the squad for the WAFU tournament

Goalkeepers: Chiamaka Nnadozie; Christy Ohiaeriaku; Alaba Jonathan
Defenders: Glory Ogbonna; Chidinma Okeke; Mary Ologbosere; Mariam Ibrahim; Evelyn Nwabuoku
Midfielders: Osarenoma Igbinovia; Amarachi Okoronkwo; Cynthia Aku; Adebisi Saheed; Peace Efih
Forwards: Uchenna Kanu; Alice Ogebe; Chioma Wogu; Esther Sunday; Rafiat Sule; Joy Bokiri; Rita Okoro