Former Super Falcons captain Desire Oparanozie, 27, has been overlooked by the African Champions’ following a sit-in protest over unpaid bonuses and allowances at the 2019 World Cup in France.
Oparanozie, a France-based striker, said she was not surprised by her omission from new coach Randy Waldrum’s maiden squad hinting that it was because of the protest. Oparanozie had publicly defended her stance in France that the NFF should include players left out of the World Cup party as they look to pay players money owed from previous international fixtures over several years. “I did what I felt was right. Even if that’s the only thing I did, I’m very happy.” she said in July. There looks to be a point in Oparanozie’s assertion considering the fact that at least one player not currently in active club duty have been included in the squad. Despite being omitted from a 23-player squad for the Turkish Women’s Cup, Oparanozie is still part of the Super Falcons plans, according to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). The NFF’s director of communications Ademola Olajire quickly played down talk of a rift between the Dijon striker and the football authority. “Oparanozie is still part of the team’s plans and her non-inclusion has nothing to do with that protest in France because she was not the only one involved,” Olajire said. “Selection of players is predominantly the prerogative of the coaches and not the NFF. “She remains an important member of the women’s national side. I think she will just have to keep working on her game and, if she gets the opportunity, then push for a consistent selection.” Another player many Nigerians would want to see again is Courtney Dike, the all action striker.
Nigeria’s 23-player squad for Turkey:
Goalkeepers: Tochukwu Oluehi (Pozoalbense, Spain); Chiamaka Nnadozie (Paris FC, France); Christy Ohiaeriaku (Edo Queens)
Defenders: Onome Ebi; Glory Ogbonna (Edo Queens); Osinachi Ohale (Madrid CFF, Spain); Mariam Ibrahim (Nasarawa Amazons); Chidinma Okeke (Madrid CFF, Spain); Habeebat Akinwande (FC Robo)
Midfielders: Rita Chikwelu (Madrid CFF, Spain); Esther Sunday (ALG SPOR, Turkey); Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene (Eskilstuna, Sweden); Antoinette Payne (Sevilla FC, Spain); Halimatu Ayinde (Eskilstuna, Sweden); Christy Ucheibe (SL Benfica, Portugal); Patricia George (Sands FC, Germany)
Forwards: Asisat Oshoala (FC Barcelona, Spain); Uchenna Kanu (Linkopings, Sweden); Rasheedat Ajibade (Atletico Madrid, Spain); Francisca Ordega; Chinwendu Ihezuo; Gift Monday (FC Robo); Charity Adule (SD Eibar, Spain)