Monday, 12 November 2012

Has the Nigerian women’s dominance been broken?

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After winning all the African Women Championships prior to the 2008 edition, it has not been a stroll in the park in recent times for the Super Falcons as they faltered at the semi-final hurdle of the last African Women championship. This time they even failed to win a medal.

Is it now a case of complacency on the part of the Nigerians? Are the women suffering a decline? Or have other teams stepped up? I believe it is a combination of all three.

It is quite evident the world over that women football is evolving with the French and the Japanese looking to threaten the American and East European dominance. The same scenario is playing out in Africa. The South Africans, like the Equatorial Guinean counterparts four years ago showed proved that the Falcons are no longer invincible. 

Winning the championship is not by any means Nigeria’s birthright, but losing out in two of the last three championships is a glaring sign of retrogression. The Camerounians further underlined the Falcons’ decline in the third place match.

This has been an eye opener to the fact that for long time now, something was wrong with the team but the people paid to oversee the team did not care enough to pay attention.
While other African countries were working round the clock, we were basking in a false sense of supremacy failing to put in place any visible strategies or plans for development like we see in other countries in the world.

After the sentimental blunder of trying out “a female head coach” at the last Women World Cup, was there any sense in deploying Kadiri Ikhana (well known to be a coach of the men folk) to the female team?

Coaches who have proved their mettle and acumen should be developed and encouraged instead of the Merry-go-round of various coaches taking turns to try their luck with different national teams. It is well documented that the Falcons have had their best spell under Ismaila Mabo. Prospective coaches should have been made to understudy him if he had to be replaced. A certain Egan Edat who led a group of girls to the Under-20 Finals in 2010 thoroughly deserved a chance to build further.

But first, Nigeria needs to improve the league for the Falcons to return to glory days so the NFF should live up to its responsibilities by immediately reorganizing the women league.

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