Now that the Super Falcons know the teams they will be up against at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup holding next year in France, coach Thomas Dennerby is bound to be getting pointers on how to succeed at the competition. However, he has also been queried by a former Super Falcons coach, Edwin Okon, who believes the Falcons have not really changed under the Swede’s management compared to his time at the helm between 2013 and 2015.
Okon won the Africa Cup of Nations title with the Falcons back in 2014 before being relieved of the post in 2015 following the team’s failure to go beyond the group stage of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup held in Canada and won by the United States. This time around, Nigeria has been drawn in Group A of the Women’s World Cup alongside host nation, France, Asian heavyweights, South Korea and 1995 World Cup winner, Norway.
And 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 Dennerby into the team. “I haven’t seen any change from the Super Falcons that I know,” Okon said. “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. In case Onome Ebi is not around, who will come in and replace her? By now, there should be replacement for these ageing players.”
As a result, the three-time Nigeria Women Premier League winner and four-time Federations Cup winner with Rivers Angels advised that Dennerby should bring in more home-based players to the national team. “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.”
Okon went on to state it is only when the Super Falcons comprises more home-based stars in the squad to international competitions that such players would be able to improve and play at a higher level to the benefit of the national team. “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.”
Do you agree with coach Okon?