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Football | Nigeria

In-fighting doomed Falconets

In-fighting and a power tussle may have caused Nigeria's Falconets the title at the just concluded Fifa Under-20 Women's World Cup in Japan won by the United States of America-.

The beaten finalists in the last edition held in Germany finished distance fourth losing to hosts, Japan 1-2 in the third place match.

The team arrived Lagos on Monday aboard Emirates Airlines flight without the usual fun fare or red carpet reception showing disapproval of country men and women with their off the pitch conducts while in the Far East states.

The nation's campaigners garnered seven points to lead Group B that paraded the likes of Brazil, Korea Republic and Italy and went ahead to fence off hard fighting Mexicans in the quarterfinal.

However, the seed of discord sowed in South Korea during the final preparations which blossomed in Japan led to their 0-2 loss to eventual winners, the United States of America in the semifinal and later 1-2 defeat to hosts, Japan in the losers' game summed up their score card in Japan. gathered that Falconets were sharply and bitterly divided between the players of the two clearly dominating club sides, Rivers Angels and Delta Queens ably backed to the hilt by the coaches and officials who have sympathies for the factions.

Delta Queens are the domestic champions while Rivers Angels are Cup holders.

Nervy areas include the dispute over the captaincy of the team headed by Rivers Angels' defender, Gloria Ofoegbu.

Ofoegbu had the backing of her club teammates who are clearly in majority with tacit support of the manager, Edwin Okon also the head coach at Rivers Angels.

Although, deputy captain and midfielder, Ngozi Okobi plays for the rivals club side, Delta Queens, her teammates, incidentally in the minority but vocal were not comfortable with Ofoegbu's captaincy and were always shouted down each time they raised their dissenting voices.

The coaches, too, did not fare better as they have their shares of the disquiet. authoritatively gathered that assistant coach and former Super Falcons' captain, Florence Omagbemi rubbed her assumed superiority on the eyes of the other assistant coaches, Chris Nwaehi and Taiwo Ajobiewe-Asikogu which often led to occasional flare up in the full glare of the players.

The head coach, Okon was not spared from the altercation as his assistants' penchant to scrutinise team list from the angle of self-interest did not go down well with him.

The back room staff too lined up behind their likes and the faction that capture their fancies thereby heating up the sorry situation.

These rifts and distractions made nonsense of the nation's expectation of the team winning laurel in the two-week campaign at the World Cup. learnt that tempo often rose to high heaven leading to fist-cuff and exchange of unpleasant words with the head of delegation and NFF board member, Effiong Johnson always invited to calm frayed nerves and restore some measure of sanity. gathered the full dossier of the combatants and their backers including a report of events in South Korea and Japan are before the NFF who is disposed to have the alleged sordid incidence fully investigated.

Rivers Angels' quota in the Falconets are Gloria Ofoegbu, Asisat Oshoala, Ebere Orji, Jennifer Osawaru, Winifred Eyebhoria, Josephine Chukwunonye, Ugo Njoku, Chidinma Okoro, Francisca Ordega and Ebubeleye Whyte while Delta Queens have the influential duo of Desire Oparanozie and Ngozi Okobi.

Officials who will be explaining to the NFF all they know as well as their individual role in the show-of-shame include coach, Edwin Okon, assistant coaches, Florence Omagbemi, Chris Nwaehi and Taiwo Ajobiewe-Asikogu.

Others include team secretary, Faith Ben-Anuge, team cordinator, Andrew Abah, team doctor, Ngozi Mmamelu, physiotherapist, Victoria Maduagwu, equipment manager, Arit Effiong, media officer, Ejiro Femi-Babafemi, among others. Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN


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