Five home-based Falcons, officials arrive Austria camp as Waldrum invite 26

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

All Smile…Desire Oparanozie smiles again after being recalled by NFF.

Five home-based Super Falcons out of the 26 invited by Coach Randy Waldrum and a handful of backroom staff  who left Lagos aboard Ethiopian Airlines arrived Austrian capital, Vienna on Thursday evening to begin a week plus one day training camp as part of the team’s elaborate preparations for both the Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Football Tournament and African Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifier match against Ghana Black Queens billed for Lagos in September and October respectively.

Super Falcons Michelle Alozie (22) and Ifeoma Onumonu (14) shackle Team USA attacker (10) Carli Lloyd

Among the players who travelled from Nigeria to Austria are Bayelsa Queens goalkeeper, Onyinye Patience Okeke; Edo Queens defenders,

Glory Ogbonna and Esther Ogbonna; Gift Monday of FC Robo Queens and Joy Bokiri of Bayelsa Queens, both attackers.
As earlier reported by Sportsrevelation, Waldrum has once again invited  some of the prayers he has not worked with since he took charge of the nine-time African Champions just as he also extended invitation to another group of diaspora players following the inability of some of those who played for him in the Turkish Women’s Cup in Antalya in February and the Summer Series in Texas, United States of America (USA) last month.

On duty…Randy Waldrum and his assistant set cone for routine training

Among the diaspora players invited this time around are the duo of Swedish Josephine and Evelyn Ijeh, daughters of ex-Super Eagles player, Peter Ijeh who grew up in Ajegunle, Lagos and played club football for local clubs before going abroad to play in the Swedish top league. Others are Megan Ashleigh of Leicester City, England and Ninuola Dada of Watford FC, England who be will be part of Super Falcons the training camp in Austria.

Also, the American-born gaffer has invited one-time Captain of Super Falcons and France-based, Desire Oparanozie as well as England-based forward Ini-Abasi Umotong makes a return to the fold of the reigning
African Champions.
Meanwhile, notable names missing in the Austria trip are African Footballer of the Year and FC Barcelona women’s Asisat Lamina Oshoala and Charity Adule of SC Eibar who were at Summer Series in USA.

Missing in Action…Asisat Oshoala not in Austria camp

However, the camp in Austria will be the third gathering that Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have arranged for the Super Falcons since 2021 even as the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick has revealed to the media that Waldrum and his players may yet return to USA later in the year for more preparatory camps to put the team in shape for the FIFA Women’s World Cup African qualifiers starting from October.

Goalkeepers: Tochukwu Oluehi (CD Pozoalbense, Spain); Chiamaka
Nnadozie (Paris FC, France); Patience Okeke (Bayelsa Queens); Yewande
Balogun (California Storm, USA)
Defenders: Glory Ogbonna (Edo Queens); Osinachi Ohale (Madrid CFF,
Spain); Esther Ogbonna (Edo Queens); Chidinma Okeke (Madrid CFF,
Spain); Onyinyechi Zogg (FC Zurich, Switzerland); Nicole Payne (West
Virginia University, USA); Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash Reserves,
USA); Megan Ashleigh (Leicester City, England); Josephine Ijeh (BK
Hacken, Sweden)
Midfielders: Rita Chikwelu (Madrid CFF, Spain); Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene
(Eskilstuna United, Sweden); Toni Payne (Sevilla FC, Spain);
Mowaninuola Dada (Watford FC, England)
Forwards: Rasheedat Ajibade (Atletico Madrid, Spain); Francisca Ordega
(Levante UD, Spain); Gift Monday (FC Robo Queens); Joy Bokiri (Bayelsa
Queens); Uchenna Kanu (Linkopings FC, Sweden); Ebere Orji (Sundsvall
DFF, Sweden); Ini-Abasi Umotong (Lewes FC, England); Evelyn Ijeh (BK
Hacken, Sweden); Desire Oparanozie (FC Dijon, France).

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