Surprises as Nigeria name Women’s World Cup squad
Nigeria women’s coach Thomas Dennerby sprung several surprises when he named the squad for the World Cup in France next month.
Dennerby promoted five players who earlier this month won the regional West African (WAFU) Nations Cup in Abidjan.
He also unexpectedly omitted Brighton forward Umotong Ani and Sweden-based defender Josephine Chukwunonye.
Thirty-three-year-old midfielder Evelyn Nwabuoku, defender Chidinma Okeke, goalkeeper Alaba Jonathan as well as strikers Alice Ogebe and Uchenna Kanu shone at the WAFU cup to earn their places in the party to France next month.
Nwabuoku caught the eye in a new defensive role at the tournament, while university undergraduate Kanu emerged top scorer with nine goals.
Stars Asisat Oshoala, Desire Oparanozie and Francisca Ordega all made the 23-player final list while Onome Ebi, 35, will feature at her fifth World Cup.
Nigeria tackle Norway in their opening Group A game on June 8.
They will also face hosts France and South Korea.
Goalkeepers: Tochukwu Oluehi (Rivers Angels), Alaba Jonathan (Bayelsa Queens), Chiamaka Nnadozie (Rivers Angels)
Defenders: Osinachi Ohale (Vaxjo DFF/SWE), Ngozi Ebere (Arna-0Bjornar/NOR), Onome Ebi (Henan Huishang/CHN), Faith Michael (Pitea IF/SWE), Chidinma Okeke (FC Robo)
Midfielders: Rita Chikwelu (Kristianstad DFF/SWE), Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene (Eskilstuna United/SWE), Evelyn Nwabuoku (Rivers Angels), Ogonna Chukwudi (Djurgardens IF/SWE), Halimatu Ayinde (Eskilstuna United/SWE), Amarachi Okoronkwo (Nasarawa Amazons)
Forwards: Desire Oparanozie (En Avant Guingamp/FRA), Anam Imo (Malmo FC Rosengard/SWE), Asisat Oshoala (FC Barcelona/SPA), Chinaza Uchendu (SC Braga/POR), Uchenna Kanu (Southeastern University/USA); Rasheedat Ajibade (Alvadsnes IL/NOR); Francisca Ordega (Shanghai W. FC/CHN), Alice Ogebe (Rivers Angels), Chinwendu Ihezuo (Henan Huishang/CHN)