Again, Waldrum excludes Oparanozie from Mexico tourney


By Ebenezer Bajela.

Ahead of next month’s Revelation Cup tournament in Leon, Mexico City, head coach of the Super Falcons, Randy Waldrum, has called up 23 players for the tournament with striker Desire Oparanozie once again omitted from the squad.

The seven-day tourney holds from February 15 to 21.

Oparanozie was unceremoniously kicked out as captain of the women’s national team after leading a bonus protest against officials at the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Ever since, she’s been largely excluded from the side, missing last year’s WAFCON following a reported travel hitch in China.

Top on the list of the players invited are captain Onome Ebi, Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala, goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie and Leicester City’s Ashleigh Plumptre.

However, China-based Oparanozie has been overlooked for the tourney in Mexico.

The 29-year-old was also dropped from the Falcons squad that finished fourth at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco last year.

The tournament, which serves as preparation for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this summer, has hosts Mexico, Nigeria, Costa Rica and Colombia in attendance.

The nine-time African champions play their first game of the tournament against hosts Mexico February 15, three hours after the opening match between Costa Rica and Colombia.

On February 18, Waldrum’s side will come up against Colombia, before Costa Rica square up against the host nation.

Costa Rica are Nigeria’s last opponents, both teams locking horns February 21, before hosts Mexico and Colombia draw the curtain on the four-nation tourney.

Nigeria’s delegation to the tournament will depart the country’s shores February 11.

The Falcons are paired in Group B alongside Olympic champions Canada, co-hosts Australia and the Republic of Ireland and face a tough task of making it out of the group phase.