Visa issues hindering Falcons stars from Spain camp

PUNCH Spots Extra has gathered that visa issues have hindered some of the invited Super Falcons players from arriving at their camp in Spain as the team continues preparation ahead of the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France.

The Falcons camp opened in Spanish City on Friday but didn’t hold any training sessions until Sunday due to the small number of players in camp.

On Monday, the Nigeria Football Federation confirmed that team captain Rasheedat Ajibade, goalkeepers Chiamaka Nnadozie and Tochukwu Oluehi, defenders Chidinma Okeke and Nicole Payne, midfielders Christy Ucheibe, Toni Payne, Deborah Abiodun and Jennifer Echegini, and forward Esther Okoronkwo were already in camp.

The NFF added that Morufa Ademola and forward Gift Monday were also in camp bringing the number of players in camp to 12 with defenders Osinachi Ohale and Michelle Alozie also expected at the team’s hotel on Monday.

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Meanwhile, PUNCH Sports Extra learnt that Tosin Demehin and Nasarawa Amazons player Jumoke Alani were not in camp due to mistakes on their accreditations.

Our correspondent also gathered that Uchenna Kanu and Chiwendu Ihezuo are yet to have their visas with the Mexico-based forward expected to fly to the United States to join Kanu where they will both fly to Spain by Wednesday or Thursday.

Other US-based players are expected to arrive in camp on Wednesday.

In another twist, Macleans, who is also yet to have her visa, will fly from Russia to Nigeria to pick up her visa and then fly to Spain before the end of the week.

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Venting her anger, the source in the Falcons’ camp said, “Why are we even in camp? I am so pissed right now because I don’t understand why all these weren’t taken care of weeks ago.”

The nine-time African champions, who last played at the Women’s Olympic football tournament in China in 2008, will take on reigning Olympic champions Canada in a training match in Sevilla on Wednesday, July 17.

Canada’s ladies defeated their counterparts from Sweden 3-2 after a penalty shootout, following a 1-1 draw in regulation and extra time, to clinch the gold medal in Tokyo three years ago.

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The Games will be held from July 26 to August 11 and Nigeria are returning to the women’s football event since they last featured in 2008.

In their last outing at the Women’s Olympic football tournament, the Falcons lost 1-0 to the Korea Democratic People’s Republic, 1-0 to Germany and 3-1 to eventual silver medallists Brazil.

Nigeria’s best outing – so far – at the Women’s Olympic football tournament was in Athens 20 years ago, where the Falcons finished in 6th place after exiting the tournament in the quarter-finals.

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