Asisat Oshoala was left out of Nigeria’s squad for next month’s friendly against France because of an issue with her Chinese club where she returned late for pre-season training.
Officials of Dalian Quanjian FC are said to be unhappy with the three-time African footballer of the year winner.
“Asisat Oshoala was in [Nigeria] coach Thomas Dennerby’s plans but her Chinese club was not ready to release her because she overstayed in Nigeria,” a top official of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) told BBC Sport.
In her defence, the former Liverpool and Arsenal striker insists she is missing the high-profile friendly to sort out her work permit in China.
Oshoala was in the original squad of 23 for the game in Le Mans on 6 April alongside Onome Ebi, Rashidat Ajibade, Alaba Jonathan, Chinwendu Ihezuo and Uchechi Sunday, who have also been omitted.
“Some players had visa and passport problems, another complained that she was unwell,” the NFF official added.
Experienced quartet of Desire Oparanozie, Rita Chikwelu, Francisca Ordega and Ngozi Okobi, who helped the Super Falcons to an eighth Women’s Africa Cup of Nations title in 2016, have been included.
After the friendly against France, focus will switch to securing a qualifying spot at the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations in Ghana as they aim to retain their continental title.
The biggest challenge in Ghana will be to seal qualification for the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup in France – in what could be Nigeria’s eighth record appearance at the tournament.
Nigeria are the only African team to have played in all of the Women’s World Cup tournaments since 1991.
However they have failed to translate their continental dominance on the world stage, their best performance coming in USA in 1999 when they reached the quarter-finals.
Nigeria’s 17-person squad:
Goalkeepers: Onyinyechukwu Okeke, Chiamaka Nnadozie
Defenders: Josephine Chukwunonye; Ngozi Ebere; Faith Ikidi; Ugo Njoku; Osinachi Ohale; Glory Ogbonna
Midfielders: Rita Chikwelu; Ngozi Okobi; Ini-Abasi Umotong; Ogonna Chukwudi
Forwards: Francisca Ordega; Desire Oparanozie; Courtney Dike; Esther Sunday; Anam Imo.