Omidiran’s return will stabilize Nigerian women football, says Mabo
Wants Omagbemi restored as Falcons coach
The appointment of former proprietress of Omidiran Babes of Oshogbo, Ayo Omidiran as head of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Women Football Committee has been described as best decision by the Amaju Pinnick-led board.
Omidiran, a former Deputy Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Sports was named as chairman of the Women Football Committee few days ago by the NFF, a decision former Super Falcons coach Ismalia Mabo says would stabilize women football in the country.
In 1999, Omidiran’s good working relationship with coach Mabo produced the best record by any Nigerian senior team at the third edition of FIFA Women’s World Cup, where the Falcons narrowly missed a semifinal spot to Brazil. Till date, Mabo’s record as a coach is yet to be equaled in Nigeria.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday from his base in Jos, Mabo said: “Omidiran’s appointment as head of Nigeria women football committee is the best decision by the NFF. Omidiran has the experience and she is highly respected by majority of players who played for the national teams because of her quality leadership. She is not the type of person who will stab a coach or player from behind. I worked with her in 1999 and the assistance she gave the team contributed to Super Falcons’ quarterfinal finishing at the World Cup.
“Now that Omidiran is back, I can see sincere chances in our women football, particularly the national teams. One urgent decision I want Omidiran to take to stabilize Nigerian women football is to bring the trio of Florence Omagbemi, Ann Chiejine and Perpetua Nkwocha back to their position as coaches of the Super Falcons. I have said it that sacking the Omagbemi-led coaching crew was done in bad fate, and I have the confidence that Omidiran will write the wrong.
“In most developed countries today like USA, Sweden and South Africa, their ex-female players are the ones now leading their women teams. I don’t see any sense in bringing in a foreigner to lead the Super Falcons, especially when Omagbemi, Chiejine and Nkwocha did not fail in their responsibility. I also have the confidence that Omidiran will be able to secure sponsorship for the women football league and the various national teams. She has the passion and experience to deliver unlike those running the affairs on pages of newspapers, radio and national television. I salute the courage of NFF in taking the decision to appoint Omidiran as head of the women football committee,” he stated.
Speaking further, Mabo said: “I want Omidiran to use her wealth of experience and connection to preach the gospel about women football to influential Nigerians. I remember those days when Alhaja Ayo Omidiran was funding Omidiran Babes FC in Oshogbo, Princess Bola Jegede used the then Jegede Babes to raise female football in Lagos, Chief Larry Eze catered for the girls through Larry Angels in Port Harcourt. There was also Oladimeji Tigress in Ilorin, Ufuoma Babes funded by Eddington Kuejubola in Warri, Inneh Queens by the late Pa Inneh in Benin City and Simbiat Abiola Babes was funded by the wife of late Chief MKO Abiola in Abeokuta. We can have such glorious days back in our women football now that Omidiran is back in the saddle,” Mabo stated.
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