By Samuel Ahmadu
Nigeria women’s head coach Randy Waldrum has handed maiden Nigeria call-ups to two foreign-born players ahead of the US Summer Series next week in Texas, SavidNews can exclusively report.
The Super Falcons will compete with World Cup holders the US women’s team (USWNT) as well as Jamaica and Portugal in the four-team event set to take place between 10 and 16 June.
However, on Tuesday, SavidNews had earlier exclusively reported that two players – all foreign-based – have withdrawn from the 25-player roster released by the Nigeria Football Federation in May.
Affected is defender Patricia George, having suffered an injury in training with German side Sands FC recently. while the other is Eskilstuna United midfielder Halimatu Ayinde, who picked up a knee injury in action against Hackens recently.
With the squad reduced to 23, Waldrum faces a possible late pull out as the NFF is racing against time to secure visas for the foreign-based players, hence the latest duo’s invitations.
The American tactician has now turned to Swiss-born Nigerian defender Onyinyechi Zogg, who currently turns out for Swiss Women’s Super League outfit FC Zurich.
Despite born and raised in Bern, Switzerland, the 1.72-metre tall 24-year-old right-back, who already propelled her side to Uefa Women’s Champions League qualification this season is still eligible to represent Nigeria through her parents.
The other late call-up went to Finnish-born Nigerian striker Roosa Funmilayo Ariyo, who currently plays for Finnish Naisten Liiga side TiPS.
Ariyo, 26-year-old, who has been in fine form, scoring eighth in eight games was born in Finland to a Nigerian father and Finnish mother and is eligible to play for the West African nation.
With their late invitations confirmed, Zogg and Ariyo will join Nigeria’s camp in Houston on Monday after their league matches against Luzern on Saturday and JyPK on Sunday respectively.
The Super Falcons will begin the invitational tournament against Jamaica at BBVA Stadium in Houston on 10 June, followed by a meeting with Portugal three days later at the same venue.
Before traveling to Austin’s Q2 stadium to face four-time World and Olympics champions USA at the home of new Major League Soccer club, Austin FC, on 16 June.
Nigeria will hope to intensify their preparations for October’s showdown with Ghana in the first round of the qualifying series for next year’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.