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Cynthia Uwak, Oluehi, Uchechi may return to Super Falcons

By Gowon Akpodonor
11 May 2016   |   2:42 am
Determined to build a formidable Super Falcons for this year’s African Women Championship (AWC) in Cameroun, Coach Florence Omagbemi may be considering inviting former African Women ...
Cynthia Uwak. PHOTO: faneille.com

Cynthia Uwak. PHOTO: faneille.com

Omagbemi to give Faith Ikidi a second chance

Determined to build a formidable Super Falcons for this year’s African Women Championship (AWC) in Cameroun, Coach Florence Omagbemi may be considering inviting former African Women Footballer of the Year, Cynthia Uwak, to the team.

Uwak, who currently plays for Finnish top division club, Aland United, won the African Women Footballer of the Year award consecutively in 2006 and 2007. She helped the Super Falcons to win the African Women’s Nations Cup (AWC) in 2004 in Johannesburg, South Africa and 2006 in Warri, Delta State.

Uwak led Olympique Lyonnais FC to win the French championship in 2009 and she has won the Finnish league title on three occasions in 2011, 2012 and 2013. She was top scorer in Finland’s Women’s League in 2013.

The Guardian learnt yesterday that Omagbemi is making a research on some Nigerian players, including Uwak, with the intention of bringing them into the squad to fight for shirts ahead of the team’s title defence in Cameroun later this year.

The Falcons won the last AWC title in Windhoek, Namibia in 2014 shortly after the Amaju Pinnick-led NFF board assumed office. It was Pinnick’s first title.

Sadly, the Falcons have not been able to live up to expectation since then, failing to win a medal of any colour at the 2015 African Games held in Congo Brazzaville and also failing to qualify for the Rio Olympics Games in Brazil.

Omagbemi came in two months ago and together with former goalkeeper, Ann Chiejine and ex-striker Pepertua Nkwocha, the team was able to qualify for the Nations Cup in Cameroun, beating the Lioness of Senegal to the ticket. But the US-based Omagbemi is eager to make history for herself and the country.

“For sometime now, coaches of the Super Falcons have been using sentiment in inviting players to the national team and Omagbemi wants to prove that sentiment and football don’t work together,” a source told The Guardian.

“There are some people in the NFF who want to control everything, including invitation and selection of players for matches. That is what brought Falcons to its poor stage before Omagbemi came on board. I pray the people will allow her bring the necessary change into the team,” the source said.

Apart from bringing in the Akwa Ibom State born Uwak to beef up the team’s attack, Omagbemi is aiming to fortify Falcons defence, as the coach is said to be interested in recalling old timer, Faith Ikide, who plays in Sweden. Ikidi was invited for the qualifier against Senegal, but she failed to show up, citing club engagement.

“She may bring in Uchechi Sunday and if things work out, the coach may also give goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi another opportunity to fight for a shirt despite her poor performance at the African Games in Congo. There is also one player, Hope Orieka, who is doing well in Finland,” the source stated.