Ikhana uncertain of foreign legion


"I cannot confirm the number of foreign-based players that will be invited to camp. I am working closely with the technical department of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to ensure that we invite the best players.

"Players like Perpetua Nkwocha, Rita Chikwelu, and Onome Ebi will be invited alongside others. I think we will invite at least 8 more players who play outside Nigeria to join those we have in camp now," said Ikhana.

"We do not want to invite players just because they play in foreign leagues. We want to invite players who are in form and play regular competitive matches for their clubs."

He added: "The tournament is just around the corner and we need to have the players join the team in camp at least three weeks to the tournament. We will most likely identify the players we need in a few days and write to their clubs this week so they can be released in time to join us."

Ikhana was quick to add that he expects players to fight for the chance to be in his final team to participate in Africa's biggest tournament for women, saying that no player is assured an automatic place in the final squad.

"The competition in the squad is very tough. Most of the ladies who play at home are very talented and want to make the team.

"The foreign-based players will have to work very hard to displace the ladies already in camp because they are a very talented bunch."

The coach says so far, he is satisfied with the invited players after one week of camp, as they prepare for the 8th African Women's Championship set to hold in Equatorial Guinea.

"All the 27 players in camp have shown me that they want to be part of this team. I am very pleased with the level of discipline and commitment the ladies have shown. As a coach, I couldn't have asked for more."

His praise was not only reserved for the players as he also commended the work that is being put in by his coaching staff.

"The camp is organized and the team spirit is very positive. The staff are all working together and giving me the support to ensure that we have a successful outing in Equatorial Guinea."

The Championship holds between October 28 and November 11 in Equatorial Guinea.

Nigeria open their title defense against Cameroon on October 29 at the Nkoantoma Stadium in Bata.