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Will The Super Falcons Miss Oparanozie In The Women's Afcon?

It is no longer news that the NFF reported the unavailability of evergreen strike Desire Oparanozie for the upcoming Afcon.

It will be helpful for the sake of transparency to know the full circumstances behind Oparanozie’s absence or exclusion.

She has served Nigeria admirably and with distinction over the years. It will be a shame if the 28 year old emphatic center forward leaves the team in an atmosphere of bad blood.

That said, her absence from this tournament will naturally create room for the likes of Onumonu, Kanu, Imo to shine if given the green light. The likes of Ebi, Ordega, Ohale, Chikwelu and even Oparanozie are long-standing members of the team – they clearly cannot go on forever.

Mercifully, there are many bright young and ratheripe prospects strewn throughout the globe who can take the batton from the senior players in time for next year’s World Cup.

The current Under-20 and Under-17 women’s teams – who recently ravaged the African landscape with an inferno of vehement victories – will provide a conveyor belt of talents while diaspora provides several Ashleigh Plumptres and Michelle Alozies waiting to be plucked from the dual nationality tree.

For now, without being arrogant, Nigeria look odds on favourites to lift the Afcon trophy. The manner in which they brushed noisy neighbours Ghana and a rugged Ivory Coast aside in qualifiers reinforces Nigeria’s tournament winning credentials.

American Tactician Randy Waldrum has crafted a pragmatic outfit that is gritty and direct in the pursuit of their on-field objectives.

The American gaffer is shrewd. He deploys 5-2-1-2 formation against much stronger North American and European oppositions whereas reverting to something like 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 in the African terrain.

Should he elect to delpoy the 5-2-1-2 at the Afcon, my fantasy starting 11 would be:


-Chiamaka Nnadozie


– Oyedupe Payne (left) – Michelle Alozie (right)

Centre Backs:

– Onome Ebi – Akudo Ogbonna – Ashleigh Plumptre

Defensive Midfielders

– Regina Otu – Toni Payne (centre midfield)

Attacking Midfielder

– Rasheedat Ajibade


– Asisat Oshoala

– Ifeoma Onumonu

Good luck to the Super Falcons. Another Afcon trophy beckons. I just pray they win the trophy convincingly this time rather than limping to the ribbon like the last installment.

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