Falcons’ AWCON 2018 Budget Not Released Yet

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Super Falcons’ Head Coach, Thomas Dennerby, plotting a game-plan with his squad ahead of the AWCON 2018 in Ghana
  • No money to clear kits at MMIA, pay allowances
  • Final list of 21 players to defend title released

Duro Ikhazuagbe

Nigeria may be heading for another embarrassment at the 11th Women Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON 2018) finals scheduled to kick of in Ghana next week with the Super Falcons as defending champions.

Two years ago in Cameroon, the Super Falcons as champions had to stage a demonstration over unpaid camp allowances and bonuses to draw attention to their plight. It took the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari before the players and officials were paid all that they were entitled to.

As at yesterday, THISDAY learnt from credible sources in Abuja that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports was yet to release the budget approved for the competition.

As a result, Falcons’ kits for the competition starting in barely a week’s time have been stuck at the cargo section of Murtala Muhammed International Airport due to lack of funds to clear them.

Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) top hierarchy is said to be going grey over how to raise funds to pay allowances and bonuses in order to avoid a repeat of two years ago.

Earlier this week, the team was a sorry sight when departing for their eight-day final camping at world-renowned Sol Beni resort in Abidjan from where they will depart for Ghana on Wednesday, 14th November for the AWCON.

Falcons were dressed in riotous attires that made them look like girls going on excursion rather than a national team. Some of the players even wore basketball jerseys bearing Los Angeles Lakers.

The final list of 21 players named by Head Coach Thomas Dennerby included the usual suspects led by reigning Africa’s best female player, Asisat Oshoala, Desire Oparanozie, Rasheedat Ajibade and 17 others.

They are expected to fly Nigeria’s flag in the competition with South Africa, Zambia and Kenya as other opponents in the Group B pairing. Hosts Ghana, Algeria, Mali and Cameroon will battle things out in Group A in Accra.

The eight-time champions, will take on South Africa on November 18, before matches against Zambia and Kenya in Cape Coast.

THE FINAL SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Tochukwu Oluehi (Rivers Angels); Christy Ohiaeriaku (Confluence Queens); Chiamaka Nnadozie (Rivers Angels)

Defenders: Glory Ogbonna (Ibom Angels); Sarah Nnodim (Nasarawa Amazons); Ngozi Ebere (Barcelona FC, Cyprus); Faith Michael (Pitea IF, Sweden); Onome Ebi (Henan Huisanhang, China); Osinachi Ohale (Vaxjo DFF, Sweden); Josephine Chukwunonye (Asarum AIF, Sweden)

Midfielders: Amarachi Okoronkwo (Nasarawa Amazons); Ngozi Okobi (Eskiltuna UTD, Sweden); Rita Chikwelu (Krstianstand DFF, Sweden); Halimat Ayinde (Asarum AIF, Sweden)

Forwards: Anam Imo (Nasarawa Amazons); Rasheedat Ajibade (FC Robo Queens); Asisat Oshoala (Dalian Quanjian, China); Francisca Ordega (Washington Spirit, USA); Desire Oparanozie (En Avant Guingamp, France); Chinaza Uchendu (SC Braga, Portugal); Chinwendu Ihezuo (Biik Kazygurt, Kazakhstan)