Glo-CAF awards:My time will come, says Omagbemi
• Salutes Winners, Urges Oshoala Not To Be Carried Away
Super Falcons coach, Florence Omagbemi, could not win the African Coach of the Year Award in Thursday’s Glo-CAF ceremony in Abuja, but the former defender is excited being nominated for the category.
Omagbemi made history on December 3 in Yaounde, Cameroon, when she led the Super Falcons to win the 10th edition of African Women’s Nations Cup, the first African woman to do so as a player and a coach.
Many football fans had tipped her to clinch the African Coach of the Year in Thursday’s Glo-CAF Award ceremony, but she lost to Pitso Mosimane of Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.
Omagbemi told The Guardian in a telephone chat from her base in the United States of America yesterday that she had no bad feelings for her inability to win the award.
“I have nothing to worry about for not winning the National Coach of the Year award,” Omagbemi said. “In fact, I am so excited for my nomination for that category because I started the job as a national team coach in less than year, and I believe my time to win the title will surely come.
“To be nominated among two male coaches for such a category gives me joy, and I am happy for the winner (coach Pitso Mosimane) because he equally did a wonderful job with Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa by leading them to win the CAF Champions League. I congratulate him and other winners in the Glo-CAF Awards,” she 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), she led the Falcons to capture the maiden African Women Championship (AWC) title in Abeokuta. She also won it in 2000 and 2002, just as she led the team to two Olympic Games appearances at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.
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.
Her 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.
In 2015, Florence 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. She was named coach of the Super Falcons in March 2016, and she did not disappoint, leading the team to clinch the Nations Cup title for the eight time in Cameroon on December 3, thus becoming the second Nigerian after the late coach Stephen Keshi to do so as a player and a coach.
Former Super Falcons striker, Uche Eucharia, won the African Women’s Nations Cup title at South Africa 2010 as a coach. Uche did not win it as a player because she had stopped playing for the national when the maiden edition took place in Abeokuta in 1998.
Omagbemi said yesterday that she was excited for the Women National Team of the year award the Super Falcons won in Thursday’s Glo-CAF Awards, but said it was the collective responsibility of the players and members of the technical crew.
“I am happy for the National Female Team of the Year Award, and I dedicate it to all the players for their committement, technical crew members, NFF staffs and all Nigerians for their support. It was my first attempt and thank God it paid off. It goes to show that other female coaches in Africa and ex-players can achieve the same thing, if they believe in their dream. They should keep working hard and the result will surely come,” Omagbemi stated.
Speaking on Asisat Oshoala’s emergence as the 2016 African Female Footballer of the year, Omagbemi said: “I am so happy for her. But I want to advise her not to let to be carried away by her successes. Asisat is young and still has a lot of achievements waiting to come her way. But she must keep herself calm. I said so because as a player, if you don’t have self-discipline, you will get carried away. I want to also add that Oshoala’s emergence as top scorer in Cameroon and African Female Footballer of the Year in the Glo-CAF Awards was a team work. I hope she will understand.”
In Thursday’s ceremony in Abuja, Super Eagles and Manchester City striker, Kelechi Iheanacho emerged as the Most Promising Talent, beating both Elia Meschak (DR Congo & TP Mazembe) and Naby Keita (Guinea & RB Leipzig) in that category.
Arsenal striker, Alex Iwobi was voted the Youth Player of the Year Category ahead of Eric Ayiah (Ghana and Charity FC) and Sandra Owusu-Ansah (Ghana and Supreme Ladies).
Leicester City of England player and Algerian International, Riyad Mahrez broke the 30 years jinx by being the next Algerian to pick the African Best Player of the Year since 1987. He beat 2015 winner, Gabon and Borrussia Dortmund of Germany player, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Sadio Mane of Senegal and Liverpool FC to pick the coveted crown.