Nigeria’s female national team, Super Falcons’ former top striker, Mercy Akide-Udoh has been tipped alongside two other ex-internationals as ladies who are capable of taking over as head coach of the nine-time African champions, megasportsarena.com reports.
With Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) apparently lost for ideas over the appointment of a new coach for the team, following the unceremonious exit of Sweden’s Thomas Dennerby and the failure of Chris Danjuma to qualify the squad for this year’s Olympic Games, a former handler of the side, Ismaila Mabo says Akide and other have what it takes to save the future.
Mabo is also rooting for the like former goalkeeper, Ann Agunmanu-Chiejine and ex-midfielder Rita Chikweulu as good candidates for the job, alongside Akide, who was on the cards of Stars Soccer Club of USA from 2006 to 2008.
She was head coach for Stars U-16 Athena C Gold Girls and worked within a youth development agency, Beach FC in Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA from 2008 to 2013, where she was also a co-director, then joined the coaching staff of Virginia Rush Soccer Club in 2013.
With those credentials in view, Mabo called on Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to look inwards and allow the country’s former women players handle the Falcons, whose last ex-international gaffer was erstwhile skipper of the side, was Florence Omagbemi, but she was hastily removed after appearing to lead a players’ mutiny, few years after Uche Eucharia faced similar fate.
Eucharia won the 2010 African Women’s Cup of Nations with the Falcons and led them to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, while Omagbemi took the side to the 2016 AWCON in Cameroon, after which she was replaced by Thomas Dennerby.
Despite good honours garnered by Eucharia and Omagbemi, they were both removed under uncanny circumstances, but Mabo wants the scenario revisited, and the veteran women soccer expert says home grown talent can help the Falcons get back their fading days of glory.
In buttressing his call for female ex-internationals to get the nod, Moba reminded anyone who cares to listen that he is an authority in this aspect of the game, having led the Falcons to the 1998 AWCON title hosted by Nigeria, he was in charge when they got to the quarter-finals of the 1999 World Cup and he took them to the Olympic Games of Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004, the last of which they reached the quarter-finals.
Mabo said: “Mercy Akide is there, Ann Agumanu is there, Nwadike is there, so many of them are there and they are well trained coaches. I believe our girls can do it, I have full confidence in everyone of them that I have mentioned.
“Our girls should have their destinies in their hands. Mabo as an authority in women’s football is saying we have capable hands and I have mentioned their names. If it’s a must they bring a male coach, then they should bring those who have been doing it, especially with their clubs.”