Golden Boot winner recalled to Nigerian squad for Football Ferns friendly

posted in: Football Ferns, News

Nigeria have recalled star striker Desire Operanozie to their national squad to face the Football Ferns after four years of freezing her out of the side.

Operanozie (29) has scored 22 goals in 35 games for Nigeria’s Super Falcons but she has been left out of the national team since leading protests against Nigeria’s national body over unpaid bonuses at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

She was the Golden Boot winner when scoring five goals to help Nigeria win the  2014 African Women’s Championship, and was a key squad member for other Africa title wins in 2010, 2016, and 2018.

Nigeria will play two friendly matches in Turkey in April.

After playing Haiti on April 7, the Super Falcons will meet the Ferns on Wednesday April 12 (NZT).

The Ferns squad was announced on Tuesday March 28.

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Nigeria have played three games in 2023, beating Colombia 1-0 and losing 1-0 to Mexico and to Costa Rica by the same score. The three games were part of the Women’s Revelations Cup tournament held in Mexico in February.

Head coach Randy Waldrum has named a 23-player squad.

Leading players in the squad are captain Onome Ebi, Barcelona striker Asisat Oshoala, and Atletico Madrid forward Rasheedat Ajibade.

Nigeria squad

Goalkeepers: Chiamaka Nnadozie (Paris FC, France); Yewande Balogun (AS Saint-Etienne, France); Inyene Etim (Abia Angels).

Defenders: Onome Ebi (Abia Angels); Osinachi Ohale (Deportivo Alaves, Spain); Ashleigh Plumptre (Leicester City, England); Glory Ogbonna (Besiktas JK, Turkey); Rofiat Imuran (Stade de Reims, France); Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash, U.S); Oluwatosin Demehin (Stade de Reims, France).

Midfielders: Halimatu Ayinde (FC Rosengard, Sweden); Christy Ucheibe (SL Benfica, Portugal); Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene (FC Levante Las Planas, Spain); Deborah Abiodun (Rivers Angels); Toni Payne (Sevilla FC, Spain); Regina Otu (AS Saint-Etienne, France).

Forwards: Asisat Oshoala (Barcelona Femenin, Spain); Rasheedat Ajibade (Atletico Madrid, Spain); Esther Okoronkwo (AS Saint-Etienne, France); Ifeoma Onumonu (NY/NJ Gotham FC, U.S); Uchenna Kanu (Racing Louisville, Kentucky, U.S); Desire Oparanozie (Wuhan Chegu Jianghan, China); Gift Monday (UDG Tenerife, Spain).


Game to be played on Saturday April 8, 1am (NZT)

New Zealand v Iceland

Game to be played on Wednesday April 12, 1am (NZT)

New Zealand v Nigeria

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