Evelyn Nwabuoku and Chidinma Okeke top surprise names on Nigeria’s Women's World Cup squad

NWPL media
Thomas Dennerby's 23-player squad for the global showpiece in France was named on Friday

Nigeria head coach Thomas Dennerby named his 23-player Women's World Cup squad on Friday, two weeks prior to the team's opening game against Norway in France.

Dennerby's final squad for their eighth appearance at the global stage were made up of three goalkeepers, six defenders, five midfielders and eight forwards.

Evelyn Nwabuoku is top of the surprises list, with the midfielder having earned a back-to-back World Cup appearance after missing the previous two Awcons.

However, the 33-year-old claimed her spot following her impressive display in a new defensive role in Nigeria's Wafu Women's Cup triumph in Abidjan. 

Also in the defense is former youth international and FC Robo defender Chidinma Okeke, who was a shock inclusion after her good showing at the regional tournament in Cote d'Ivoire.

Others are Rivers Angels striker Alice Ogebe, who missed the last three Awcons, as well as Bayelsa Queens goalkeeper Alaba Jonathan and Southeastern University forward Uchenna Kanu.

Also on the list are captain Desire Oparanozie, Ogonna Chukwudi, Rita Chikwelu, Halimatu Ayinde, Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene and Asisat Oshoala and Francisca Ordega.

The 36-year-old veteran defender Onome Ebi, who was crowned Nigeria's Women Player of the Year 2018, will also be making her fifth Women's World Cup appearance in France.

Brighton forward Ini Umotong and Kungsbacka defender Josephine Chukwunonye were the biggest names left out.
Nigeria are pitted against Norway, South Korea and hosts France in Group A and they will commence their campaign against the Norwegians on June 8 in Reims.
The team will depart their camp base in Austria on June 4 for France ahead of their opener against Norway four days later.


Nigeria's final squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Tochukwu Oluehi (Rivers Angels); Alaba Jonathan (Bayelsa Queens); Chiamaka Nnadozie (Rivers Angels)

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Defenders: Osinachi Ohale (Vaxjo DFF, Sweden); Ngozi Ebere (Arna Bjornar, Norway); Onome Ebi (Henan Huishang, China); Evelyn Nwabuoku (Rivers Angels);  Faith Michael (Pitea IF, Sweden); Chidinma Okeke (FC Robo)

Midfielders: Rita Chikwelu (Kristiansand DFF, Sweden); Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene (Eskilstuna United, Sweden); Ogonna Chukwudi (Djurgardens IF, Sweden); Halimatu Ayinde (Eskilstuna United, Sweden); Amarachi Okoronkwo (Nasarawa Amazons)

Forwards: Desire Oparanozie (En Avant Guingamp, France); Anam Imo (Rosengard, Sweden); Asisat Oshoala (FC Barcelona, Spain); Chinaza Uchendu (SC Braga, Portugal); Uchenna Kanu (Southeastern University, USA); Rasheedat Ajibade (Alvadsnes IL, Norway); Francisca Ordega (Shanghai W. FC); Alice Ogebe (Rivers Angels); Chinwendu Ihezuo (Henan Huishang, China)