Omagbemi’s appointment, a test for ex-Falcons players, says NFF
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has said that the appointment of Florence Omagbemi as interim coach of the Super Falcons is a test for others who had played for the team in the past.
The US-based Omagbemi, who captained the Super Falcons for 14 years, was recently appointed alongside former goalkeeper, Ann Chiejine and ex-captain Perpetua Nkwocha to handle the team pending the signing of a new foreign coach.
Speaking with The Guardian in Lagos during the media briefing on the Nigerian Pitch Award, the Deputy Secretary General of the NFF, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme said that entrusting the female national team in the hand of Omagbemi, Chijine and Nkwocha was to test the coaching ability of women who had played for the country.
“If the NFF can appoint ex-internationals as coaches for the Super Eagles, why not the women? Omagbemi, Chijine and Nkwocha played for Super Falcons at various time and they did very well. Basically, we decided to give them this chance to see how far they can go in coaching the team. Don’t also forget that there is room for a foreign coach,” Ikpeme said.
For 16 years, Omagbemi was one of the amazons who shouldered Nigeria’s quest for glory in both CAF and FIFA Women’s championships.
From the inaugural edition of the World Cup in China ’91, to Sweden ’95, USA ’99 and USA 2003, Omagbemi was in the defence, providing cover for goalkeeper Ann Chijine against oppositions.
Omagbemi and her ‘golden’ generation of the Super Falcons reached the second round of the FIFA World Cup at USA ’99, where Nigeria narrowly lost the semifinal ticket to Brazil. Before then (1998), the duo led the Falcons to capture the maiden African Women Championship (AWC) title in Abeokuta. They also won it in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006.
In 2012, Omagbemi was part of the Nigerian U-20 Women team’s technical crew that got to the semifinal in Japan.
She worked with former Falcons coach, Edwin Okon in Japan.
Omagbemi’s profile has been on the rise since then, especially at global level. That same year, FIFA listed Omagbemi as a member of Women’s U-17 World Cup organizing committee held in Azerbaijan. She was also a member of the FIFA Women’s U-17 World Cup organizing committee at Costa Rica in 2014.
Last year, Omagbemi was elevated to the senior rank, as she was listed as a member of FIFA’s Technical Study Group (TSG) for Canada 2015 Women’s World Cup.
Omagbemi is the second ex-Falcons player to handle the women senior team. The first was ex-striker, Uche Eucharia, but she failed with the team, as she could not qualify the girls for the All Africa Games in Maputo and the 2012 Olympics in London. Eucharia could not also take the team beyond the group stage at Germany 2011 World Cup.
The once conquering Super Falcons had been impressive in recent times. After Edwin Okon failed with the team at Canada 2015 World Cup, his replacement, Chris Danjuma, who led the team on interim capacity, also failed to pick a medal of any colour at the All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville. Things got worst, when the seven-times African champions failed to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics as they suffered a 3-2 aggregate loss to Equatorial Guinea.
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