AWCON 2022 qualifiers: Waldrum shuns Aisha Buhari Cup flops, invite 8 home-based Falcons for clash against Black Queens in Lagos

By Harry Awurumibe, Africa’s No.1 Women’s Football Journalist

Super Falcons team at Summer Series in Texas

Apparently not impressed with their performances, no fewer than seven players invited for the better forgotten Aisha Buhari Invitational Tournament in Lagos last month by Super Falcons Head Coach, Randy Waldrum have been axed as a handful of home-based players made the cut for the crucial African Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) Morocco 2022 qualifiers double-header against Ghana Black Queens next week in Lagos and Accra.

This is even as the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has said that the 23 players invited by Waldrum are expected to hit Lagos on Sunday, two days before the explosive match billed for Wednesday, October 20 at  Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan just as no fewer than eight Nigeria domestic women’s football league players have been included in the list released by the football house.
Sportsrevelation reports the Super Falcons will leave Lagos on Friday, October 22 aboard Air Peace flight to Katoka International Airport, Accra, Ghana for the  October 24 reverse fixture against Black Queens at Accra Sports Stadium for the winner -takes- all encounter.
A close look at the list of 23 players shortlisted by Super Falcons American-born gaffer showed that he dropped the foreign-based players who did not  justify their invitation for the Aisha Buhari Cup which South Africa’s Banyana Banyana carted home after a resounding 4-2 victory over Nigeria in the final match of the competition.
Excluded from the list by Waldrum and justifiably too are Faith Ikidi (Pitea DFF, Sweden); Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash, USA), who conceded an own goal against South Africa; and Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene (Eskilstuna United, Sweden) as well as  Esther Okoronkwo of Saint Etienne, France who did not show up in Lagos.

Dropped…Mitchell Alozie

Instead, Waldrum who is University of Pittsburgh U.S Soccer Team’s Head Coach is keeping faith with a handful of home-based players who distinguished themselves in the Lagos debacle. They are Gift Monday (FC Robo Queens) and Vivian Obianuju Nkemakolam (Rivers Angels) who scored a brace each in the matches against Mali and South Africa respectively. Other Nigeria Women’s Football League invited are are Akudo Ogbonna (Edo Queens); Oluwatosin Demehin (Rivers Angels); Goodness Onyebuchi (Edo Queens); Ayomide Ojo (Edo Queens); Rafiat Imuran (Rivers Angels) and Opeyemi Sunday (Edo Queens);

Also, the Coach recalled his key players who due to injury or clubs commitments failed to attended the Lagos Six-Nation Invitational Friendly Matches. They include veteran defender Osinachi Marvis Ohale (Deportivo Alaves, Spain); ex-junior international, Rasheedat Ajibade (Atletico Madrid, Spain) and impressive Toni Payne (Sevilla FC, Spain).

Recalled…Rasheedat Busayo Ajibade made the cut.

However, Waldrum invited the usual suspects led by team captain,  Asisat Lamina  Oshoala (FC Barcelona, Spain); one-time skipper Desire Ugochi Oparanozie (Dijon FC, France); Francisca Ordega (CSKA Moscow, Russia) and three goalkeepers: Tochukwu Oluehi (Maccabi Kishronot Hadera, Israel); Chiamaka Nnadozie (Paris FC, France); Yewande Balogun (California Storm, USA).

Goalkeepers: Tochukwu Oluehi (Maccabi Kishronot Hadera, Israel); Chiamaka Nnadozie (Paris FC, France); Yewande Balogun (California Storm, USA)
Defenders: Onome Ebi (Minsk FC, Belarus); Glory Ogbonna (Umea FC, Sweden); Osinachi Ohale (Deportivo Alaves, Spain); Ayomide Ojo (Edo Queens); Rafiat Imuran (Rivers Angels); Opeyemi Sunday (Edo Queens); Oluwatosin Demehin (Rivers Angels); Akudo Ogbonna (Edo Queens)
Midfielders: Rita Chikwelu (Madrid CFF, Spain); Rasheedat Ajibade (Atletico Madrid, Spain); Toni Oyedupe Payne (Sevilla FC, Spain); Regina Otu (Minsk FC, Belarus); Goodness Onyebuchi (Edo Queens); Joy Bokiri (AIK FC, Sweden)
Forwards: Asisat Oshoala (FC Barcelona, Spain); Francisca Ordega (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Gift Monday (FC Robo Queens); Uchenna Kanu (Linkopings FC, Sweden); Desire Oparanozie (Dijon FC, France); Vivian Ikechukwu (Rivers Angels) .

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