The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is stunned that Asisat Oshoala and Jennifer Echegini, have decided not to play in the Super Falcons’ final 2024 Women Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Cape Verde.
The Super Falcons and Cape Verde will play their first leg on Thursday at Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja.
According to a statement released on Sunday by the country’s football governing body, coach Justin Madugu will have to select replacements for FC Barcelona’s Oshoala and the American-based midfielder, Echegini.
The NFF communications department, assistant director (Technical), Abdulrafiu Yusuf, said the two players had been sent their flight tickets to travel to Nigeria a whole week before they announced on Saturday that they would be unable to join the squad.
“We were surprised that they had the flight tickets for so long and did not say anything, only for them to send different messages on Saturday that they would be unable to make the trip. However, Coach Madugu has moved swiftly to call up replacements for them,” Yusuf said according to the Punch.
Nigeria Under-20 forward Chioma Olise will take the place of US-based Echegini while Chiamaka Chukwu of Rivers Angels has been called up to take Oshoala’s place.
Midfield lynchpin Halimatu Ayinde, who missed the 2024 Olympics qualifying fixture against Ethiopia last month, is still out injured, and forward Ifeoma Onumonu also requested to be left out, saying she was nursing an injury. Defender Michelle Alozie told the team administrator that she would be undergoing surgery.
Hence, coach Madugu has called up Portugal-based Peace Efih to once again fill the space vacated by Ayinde, while Rivers Angels’ midfielder Motunrayo Ezekiel will take the place of Christy Ucheibe, who is unable to travel to Nigeria from her base in Portugal.
The Super Falcons will host the first leg of the qualifiers against their counterparts from Cape Verde in Abuja on Thursday with the second leg scheduled for the Santiago-Estadio Nacional Blue Shark in Praia on Tuesday, December 5.