The Super Falcons left Lagos yesterday for Cameroon, venue of the 10th Africa Women Cup of Nations, without team skipper, Evelyn Nwabuoku.
The Falcons, who won the AWC title two years ago in Windhoek, Namibia, beating the Lionesses of Cameroun 2-0 in the final, departed the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos aboard Asky Airline at about 3.00 pm yesterday.
The Guardian learnt that Nwabuoku, who inspired the team to victory at Namibia 2014 edition of the championship, was left out of the squad due to an injury she sustained in their Abuja camp while preparing for the championship.
Those listed by Coach Florence Omagbemi for the battle of Cameroun are goalkeepers Alaba Jonathan, Rita Akarekor and Ibubuleye Whyte.
The defenders are Ugo Njoku, Onome Ebi, Faith Ikidi,
Ohale Osinachi, Ebere Ngozi, Gladys Akpa, while
Osas Igbinovia, Ngozi Okobi,
Halimatu Ayinde, Glory Iroka and Rita Chikwuelu are the defenders.
In the attack are Desire Oparanozie, Francisca Ordega, Esther Sunday, Uchechi Sunday, Asisat Oshoala, Chioma Wogu and Ijeoma Obi.The 10th African Women Nations Cup competition will kick off on November 19 and end on December 3. The Super Falcons will kick off their campaign against Mali in Group B, which also has West Africa rivals, Black Queens of Ghana and the Ladies from Kenya.
With all Nigerian male teams (Super Eagles, Flying Eagles and Golden Eaglets) failing to qualify for African championships next year, the hope of the Amaju Pinnick-led NFF board now rests on the Super Falcons to salvage the situation be winning the AWC title in Cameroon.
This is the first time the African Women Nations Cup is taking place in Cameroun since its inception in 1998. To some followers of women football in Nigeria, the absence of Evelyn Nwabuoku, who plies her trade with Avant Guingamp in France, may have some negative impacts on the Super Falcons when hostilities begin this weekend.
But Coach Omagbemi and her two assistants, Perpetua Nkwocha and Ann Cheijine have declared in separate interviews that Nigeria will retain the trophy, no matter the level of opposition in Cameroun.