Soccer fans in Ebonyi on Tuesday urged the football authorities in Nigeria to probe the Super Falcons’ elimination from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics female football event.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Falcons drew 1-1 with Cote d’Ivoire on Monday in Lagos, to lose on the away-goal rule, having recorded a goalless draw in the first leg in Abidjan.
The fans called for the probe when they reacted to the team’s ouster with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abakaliki.
NAN reports that the soccer enthusiasts described the failure of the senior national women’s team, to secure a ticket to the Tokyo Games, as a national embarrassment.
Okechukwu Mgbada, a member of the Ebonyi Secondary Education Board, said that all had not been well with the team since its second round elimination from the female World Cup in France in June.
“The coaching imbroglio which engulfed the team with the exit of the former Super Falcons’ Coach, Thomas Dennerby, could have been avoided, as the exit brought about rumpus and unnecessary distraction in the team.
“The present Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, had to intervene by recalling the coach; but it was apparent that some forces within the nation’s soccer ruling body did not want him back,” he said.
James Obioma of the defunct JIB Rocks of Jos player, faulted the “hurried’’ appointment of Chris Danjuma as Dennerby’s replacement.
“Danjuma may have performed creditably with the Falconets (U-20 national team) but the manner in which he was appointed was unacceptable to some players and officials.
“He could not concentrate adequately on his new Falcons’ role because the issue of Dennerby kept recurring, as the team prepared to face Cote d’ Ivoire,” he said.
Julius Ordu, a businessman, kicked against the replacement of Desire Oparanozie as team’s captain and replacing her with Asisat Oshoala.
“This move apparently unsettled the team as most of the players, officials and even sports journalists felt Oparanozie did not commit any offence to warrant her replacement.
“Danjuma also did not help his cause by dropping several players who featured in the World Cup for the Olympic qualifiers, as all these factors led to the unfortunate elimination of the team from the Olympics,” he said.
Mrs Anna Ozonweke, a Child Rights Activist, urged Nigerians to take the elimination in good faith and effectively implement inherent lessons.
“The main lesson from the elimination is the realisation that other countries are working extra hard to stop Nigeria’s dominance in female football in the continent.
“It is, however, unfortunate that these authorities repeat the same mistakes after every major competition, allowing personal interests and unprofessional decisions to override national interest,” she said. (NAN)