NFF board divided over Falcons’ coach

The Super Falcons during their ill-fated Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualifier against Equatorial Guinea in Bata. Nigeria lost 1-2 to miss the Rio 2016 games.

The Super Falcons during their ill-fated Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualifier against Equatorial Guinea in Bata. Nigeria lost 1-2 to miss the Rio 2016 games.

• Anyansi, Green, Ikpeme lobby for Uche, Okon
• Pinnick wants foreigner, Onyeadima favours Omagbem

With many Nigerian football fans calling for a radical reform in the Super Falcons’ technical crew after the team’s failure to qualify for Rio 2016 Olympic Games, there seems to be a sharp division among board members of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) over the choice of a substantive coach for the team.

The Falcons failed to make it beyond the group stage at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, prompting the NFF to sack Coach Edwin Okon. His assistant, Christopher Danjuma, who was has been leading the team on acting capacity, also failed to qualify the girls for the Rio 2016 Olympics, losing 1-2 to Equatorial Guinea in Bata after managing a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Abuja.

The failure to qualify for Rio 2016 was a big blow for the NFF, as the Falcons had failed to make it to London 2012 Olympics. Rather than put heads together as members of one big family to tackle the problem facing the team, the board members are said to be putting tribal sentiments above national interests in their suggestions, a situation that has created sharp divisions among them.

The Guardian learnt yesterday that Chairman of the Technical Committee, Felix Anyansi, is allegedly using his position to lobby the board to bring back former coach, Uche Eucharia, who had failed to qualify the team for the 2011 All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique, the first time the Super Falcons failed to qualify for any continental championship.

Uche led the team to Germany 2011 FIFA World Cup, where they crashed out in the group stage. She also failed to qualify the team for London 2012 Olympics, losing to the Lionesses of Cameroun.

A source close to the board told The Guardian yesterday that former Technical Committee chairman, Christopher Green, and Assistant Secretary, Technical, Emmanuel Ikpeme, are allegedly lobbying to bring back Edwin Okon. Ikpeme is from the same Akwa Ibom State with Okon, while Green is said to be his ‘godfather’ in Rivers Angels, where Okon is head coach.

On the other hand, the chairperson in-charge of Women Football Committee in the NFF, Mrs. Dilichukwu Onyedimma, is said to favour former Falcons captain, US-based Florence Omagbemi for the job.

Mrs. Onyedimma is said to have based her argument on the fact that apart from her experience working with FIFA since 2012 till date, Omagbemi has cordial relationship with majority of the players, many of whom played under her as assistant coach at Japan 2012 FIFA U-20 World Cup, where they reached the semifinal.

Another source hinted yesterday that NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, wants a foreign Technical Adviser for the Falcons with Omagbemi as assistant and former goalie, Ann Chiejine, as goalkeeper trainer.

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