Ex-Falcons’ star Vera Okolo sets up football academy in Asaba
Former Super Falcons striker, Vera Okolo has decided to float a football academy with the aim of discovering future stars for various Nigerian national teams.
For more than a decade, Okolo played a vital role in the nation’s women football, leading the Super Falcons to victory at major championships including the 2004 African Women’s Championship in South Africa, as well as securing a gold medal at the 2003 COJA Games in Abuja. Her lone strike secured the Athens 2004 Olympics Games ticket for the Super Falcons at the expense of Bayana Bayana of South Africa. She also grabbed the winner for Nigeria at the All African Games final at Algiers 2007
At club level, Okolo, who is nicknamed ‘pocket dynamite,’ featured for various teams including Delta Queens FC, a club she helped to win its first trophy, the Super Six title at Umuahia, Abia State in 2003.
Okolo, who obtained a coaching certificate from the National Institute of Sports (NIS), a few years ago says her ambition is to use her football academy in Asaba to groom young stars, both male and female to stardom.
She revealed to The Guardian yesterday that her decision to go into the business of football academy was as a result of the ‘frustration’ she was facing after she was wrongly pushed out of her place of work at the Delta Sports Commision.
“Before I retired from active football in 2014, I was a staff of Delta Sports Commission. Even up till the time I went for my coaching programme at NIS in Lagos, I was still a staff of the Commission. But some officials of Delta Queens FC went to write ‘some rubbish’ on my file saying that I was a bad influence on other players. Instead of the management to wait and hear from me, they just jumped into a conclusion and pushed me aside. I am from Asaba, and I did so much for Delta Queens as a player,” she said.
The former African Women Footballer of the Year nominee continues: “Since I returned from my coaching course in Lagos, the Delta Sports Commission refused to absorb me into its payroll. The plan then was for me to return as a coach. I have written series of letters, moving from one office to another, but the more I try, the more they frustrate me. I won’t allow such frustration to kill me,” Okolo stated.
No official of Delta Sports Commission was willing to speak on the issue yesterday.
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