By Koffi Raphael
Estranged Super Falcons striker, Desire Oparanozie has rejoined the Nigerian women football contingent that arrived in Vienna, Austria, on Thursday July 15th to begin training ahead of the Aisha Buhari International Women Football Tournament.
Oparanozie had been excluded from the squad since the France 2019 Women World Cup following a disagreement with the team leaders over players’ emoluments.
Oparanozie is among 26 players joined by technical and administrative staff at the Event Hotel Pyramide Vienna for total concentration as Coach Randy Waldrum seeks to harness the different qualities and abilities of individual players to conflate a better and stronger team.
Lagos is set to host the six-nation Aisha Buhari invitational that will feature the Super Falcons of Nigeria, Ghana’s Black Queens, Cameroon’s Indomitable Lionesses, Banyana Banyana of South Africa, Morocco and Mali in a celebratory atmosphere in September. The teams will fight for a glittering trophy named in honour of Nigeria’s First Lady, Dr. (Mrs) Aisha Buhari.
There are also some new faces in the Nigerian team, including Yewande Balogun, Onyinyechi Zogg, Nicole Payne and Michelle Alozie, who featured in the Summer Series tour of the United States of America in June.
Waldrum has unearthed even more prospects as the Ijeh sisters (Josephine and Evelyn), Megan Ashleigh and Ninuola Dada are part of the training camp in Austria, even as England-based forward Ini-Abasi Umotong makes a return to the fold of the perennial African champions.
In the team are first-choice goalkeeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie, defender Osinachi Ohale, midfield impresario Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene and forward Uchenna Kanu, who all missed the tour of the U.S., are in Austria. There is also a return for forward, Ebere Orji.
Others are Tochukwu Oluehi (CD Pozoalbense, Spain); Patience Okeke (Bayelsa Queens); and Yewande
Balogun (California Storm, U.S.).
Also in the team are Glory Ogbonna (Edo Queens); Esther Ogbonna (Edo Queens); Chidinma Okeke (Madrid CFF, Spain); Onyinyechi Zogg (FC Zurich, Switzerland); Nicole Payne (West Virginia University, U.S.); Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash Reserves, U.S.); Megan Ashleigh (Leicester City, England); and Josephine Ijeh (BK Hacken, Sweden)
Rita Chikwelu (Madrid CFF, Spain); Toni Payne (Sevilla FC, Spain); Mowaninuola Dada (Watford FC, England); Rasheedat Ajibade (Atletico Madrid, Spain); Francisca Ordega (Levante UD, Spain); Gift Monday (FC Robo Queens); and Joy Bokiri (Bayelsa Queens).