Apparently disturbed by the performance of the Super Falcons in the Aisha Buhari Invitational Tournament in Lagos, a foremost women’s football administrator and ex-Chairman of the defunct Flying Angels of Lagos, Chief John Obijiaku has said the continued invitation of aging players to the team is inimical to the progress of the present squad.
Invitation of aging players not to Super Falcons’ benefit, says Ex-Flying Angels Chairman
By Harry Awurumibe, Africa’s No.1 Women’s Football Journalist
This is even as he has picked holes in the invitation of United States-based third-choice goalkeeper, Yewande Balogun for next week’s African Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) Morocco 2022 qualifiers between Nigeria’s Super Falcons and Black Queens of Ghana, arguing she will not bring anything new to the team because of her age.
Obijiaku whose Flying Babes FC produced former Super Falcons flamboyant goalkeeper, Ann Agumanu-Chiejine, insists that the Head Coach Randy Waldrum should have given a home-based goalkeeper a chance instead of inviting all the three goalkeepers for the double-header ties in Lagos and Accra from abroad and considering their ages.
Said he: “As a stakeholder and pioneer of women’s football in Nigeria, I have not lost touch with the growth of the game. I make bold to say that the defeat of Super Falcons by South Africa’s Banyana Banyana should be a wake-up call. I am still hurting for the defeat and we need to improve in the next game”.
“I am however happy the coach has invited many home-based players this time around but I must say that inviting three goalkeepers including a 38 year-old third goalkeeper from far away United States of America (USA) when we have younger goalkeepers in our domestic women’s football league is not proper”.
Obijiaku who was also former Team Manager of C.N. Okobi Babes FC later
Princess Jegede Babes FC of Lagos, contended that the position of a third goalkeeper in any squad is always reserved for budding talents, adding that he will like to see the injection of younger players into the present Super Falcons team as a large number of the players have given their best to the country and should be replaced by younger players.
“Aside 38 year-old goalkeeper Balogun who is the Carlifornia-based UC Davis women’s soccer staff as an assistant coach since the 2019 season, others who have crossed 30 years mark in Super Falcons are defender Onome Ebi 38; goalkeeper Toochukwu Oluehi 34; center back Faith Ikidi-Michael 34; midfilder Rita Chikwelu 33 and defender Osinachi Ohale 30”.
“Also in the present team are players who are almost 30 years. They include Francisca Ordega 28; Desire Oparanozie 28; Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene 28 and Asisat Oshoala 27. We should start rebuilding before its too late”, Obijiaku posited.