Falcons ex-coach Okon wants home-based players ahead of World Cup
Nigeria was on Saturday drawn in Group A of the 2019 Women’s World Cup alongside, hosts, France, South Korea and Norway.
However, the Falcons are supposedly not expected to come out of the group seen as a tough one if the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) fails to do something drastic to save the squad from embarrassment.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Okon appealled to the authority to ensure that the Falcons have the best preparations to withstand the world powers at the tournament.
“Early to bed, they say is early to rise. If we do not prepare well, we should not just go there and waste our time. At that level, we need to prepare well to face those countries.
“I am pleading with the authority to try as much as possible to put the team in good shape so as to be able to face these world powers,” Okon said.
Okon, who is currently the coach of the Rivers Angels FC, said he has not seen any difference in the Falcons team since the arrival of Coach Thomas Dennerby into the team.
“I haven’t seen any change from the Super Falcons that I know. But I really want to see changes in this team. In this team are players that graduated from the U-17 to U-21 into the Super Falcons. Incase Onome Ebi is not around, who will come in and replace her etc. By now, there should be replacement for these ageing players.
“The league in the country is very hot, and if you look at the Super Falcons of today, how many players in the league are part of the team.? If you can recall when I travelled to Canada for the World Cup, only five professionals were with me, and it was only three players that made the first 11.
“That is to tell you that there are players in the country and that the league is very strong. In the Super Four today, so many teams sweat before they qualify to play at that level. So, why are we underrating the players in the local league?”
Okon, however, added: “Why do you think that they cannot give their best at the world stage? All the players that you see in the current Falcons team aside from Onome, were the products of my last World Cup. It was after the World Cup that most of them left for greener pasture. So, why can’t we expose the other ones so that clubs abroad can watch them and pick.
“Why are we forgetting the home-front? That is our power. We need to think of how to expose these girls from the league. Look at the Aiteo Cup; if you want to pick even 30 players that took part in it, they can represent the country at anytime, anywhere.
“So, why are we underrating them? Why are we playing the league? Why are they playing the Aiteo Cup? None of the players was at the Nations Cup, not even at any the international tournament, so why are we playing the league?” Okon asked.
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