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Nigeria name strong squad for Women’s Nations Cup

By Oluwashina Okeleji

Nigeria have named a strong squad for their Women’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign in Ghana later this month.

Nigeria's Asisat Oshoala plays her club football in China for Dalian Quanjian
Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala plays her club football in China for Dalian Quanjian

Reigning African footballer of the year Asisat Oshoala leads a cast of 14-overseas based players in the Super Falcons squad.

Rising star Rasheedat Ajibade is also included in a provisional squad of 23, as Nigeria aim for a ninth title.

There is also the added incentive of the top three in Ghana qualifying for next year’s World Cup in France.

Experienced defender Onome Ebi is set to play in her fifth tournament.

Osinachi Ohale could also feature, eight years after competing for the Super Falcons in the 2010 event.

The provisional squad is due to travel to Ivory Coast on Tuesday for a week long training camp where they are scheduled to play some friendly matches before the final 21 players are picked to represent Nigeria at the finals.

The final squad will leave the Asec Mimosas FC academy, Sol Beni, for Ghana from Abidjan on 14 November.

Defending champions Nigeria will open their Group B campaign against South Africa on 18 November before facing Zambia three days later and Kenya in the final match on 24 November.

Hosts Ghana open the tournament against Algeria on 17 November in Group A of the eight-team Africa Cup of Nations alongside Mali and Cameroon

Swede coach Thomas Dennerby’s focus will be to extend Nigeria’s dominance on the continent at the 11th edition of the biennial event.

Nigeria are the only African team to have played in all of the Women’s seven World Cup tournaments since 1991 but they have failed to translate their continental dominance on the world stage.

Their best performance at the global event came when reaching the quarter-finals in 1999.

Nigeria’s provisional squad:

Goalkeepers: Tochukwu Oluehi and Chiamaka Nnadozie (Rivers Angels); Christy Ohiaeriaku (Confluence Queens)

Defenders: Glory Ogbonna (Ibom Angels); Ugochi Emenayo and Sarah Nnodim (Nasarawa Amazons); Ngozi Ebere (Barcelona FC, Cyprus); Faith Michael (Pitea IF, Sweden); Onome Ebi (Henan Huisanhang, China); Osinachi Ohale (Vaxjo DFF, Sweden); Josephine Chukwunonye (Asarum AIF, Sweden)

Midfielders: Amarachi Okoronkwo (Nasarawa Amazons); Ngozi Okobi (Eskiltuna UTD, Sweden); Rita Chikwelu and Ogonna Chukwudi (Krstianstand DFF, Sweden); Halimat Ayinde (Asarum AIF, Sweden)

Forwards: Anam Imo (Nasarawa Amazons); Rasheedat Ajibade (FC Robo Queens); Asisat Oshoala (Dalian Quanjian, China); Francisca Ordega (Washington Spirit, USA); Desire Oparanozie (En Avant Guingamp, France); Chinaza Uchendu (SC Braga, Portugal); Chinwendu Ihezuo (Biik Kazygurt, Kazakhstan).   BBC   Sport.