Nigeria’s head coach Randy Waldrum has included Ashleigh Plumptre and Ifeoma Onumonu in a provisional 35-player squad for the upcoming Women’s AFCON, Morocco 2022.
The Super Falcons will slug it out with Cote d’Ivoire at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on February 18 and the reverse fixture five days later at Stade Robert Champroux, Abidjan.
American tactician Waldrum missed some fresh legs due to delays in nationality switch and travel, with Leicester City defender and Gotham forward among the new faces.
Plumptre’s inclusion follows her clearance by FIFA to represent the West Africans through her paternal Nigerian grandfather following her 30 appearances at youth level for England.
US-born Onumonu will reunite with the Super Falcons’ fold for the first time since being part of the team’s campaign at the US Summer Series last June, earning her debut against Jamaica.
The list also included captain Asisat Oshoala, Onome Ebi, Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene, Rita Chikwelu, Desire Oparanozie, Francisca Ordega, Uchenna Kanu and Osinachi Ohale.
There were first-time call-ups for U20 and Rivers Angels duo Rofiat Imuran and Deborah Abiodun and Sunshine Queens goalkeeper Christy Ohiaeriaku made a return after one year.
The Super Falcons will begin preparations on Tuesday with most of the domestic players while overseas-based join later on or before February 15.
To reach this stage, the Nigerians pipped Ghana’s Black Queens 2-1 on aggregate in October 2021, while the Lady Elephants eased past Niger Republic 20-0 on aggregate.
The nine-time champions are aiming to defend their African crown in Morocco later in July but must subdue the Ivorians, who dashed their Olympic return dream at Tokyo 2020 in October 2019.
Goalkeepers: Chiamaka Nnadozie (Paris FC, France); Tochukwu Oluehi (Maccabi Kishronot Hadera, Israel); Christy Ohiaeriaku (Sunshine Queens); Yewande Balogun (California Storm, USA)
Defenders: Rofiat Imuran (Rivers Angels); Glory Ogbonna (Santa Teresa FC, Spain); Onome Ebi (Minsk FC, Belarus); Osinachi Ohale (Deportivo Alaves, Spain); Ayomide Ojo (Edo Queens); Ashleigh Plumptre (Leicester City, England); Joy Duru (Nasarawa Amazons); Nicole Payne (West Virginia University, USA); Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash, USA); Akudo Ogbonna (Edo Queens)
Midfielders: Peace Efih (Maccabi Kiryat Gat, Israel); Yetunde Aluko (WFC Ramat Hasharon, Israel); Amanda Mbadinuju (Bayelsa Queens); Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene (Eskilstuna FC, Sweden); Grace Igboamalu (Bayelsa Queens); Toni Oyedupe Payne (Sevilla FC, Spain); Regina Otu (Minsk FC, Belarus); Christy Ucheibe (SL Benfica, Portugal); Rasheedat Ajibade (Atletico Madrid, Spain); Rita Chikwelu (Madrid CFF, Spain); Amarachi Okoronkwo (Nasarawa Amazons); Deborah Abiodun (Rivers Angels)
Forwards: Esther Okoronkwo (AS Saint Etienne, France); Francisca Ordega (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Desire Oparanozie (Dijon FC, France); Vivian Ikechukwu (Rivers Angels); Gift Monday (FC Robo Queens); Juliet Bassey (Bayelsa Queens); Ifeoma Onumonu (NY/NJ Gotham FC, USA); Uchenna Kanu (Tigres UNAL, Mexico); Asisat Oshoala (FC Barcelona, Spain)