From Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Former executive committee member of Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaja Ayo Omidiran has bemoaned the elimination of the Super Falcons from next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, by Cote D’Ivoire in the African qualifier.
The Falcons were eliminated after the Ivoirians eked out a 1-1 result in Lagos, after the first leg in Abidjan ended goalless. It was the third consecutive time the team would fail to qualify for the Olympic Games football event.
But Omidiran, the immediate past chairperson of the Women Football Development Committee of the NFF, attributed the Falcons’ exit to systemic problems affecting the growth of the game in the country even as she exonerated the former NFF Head of Women Football Department, Ruth David as the cause of the team’s exit.
“I am surprised that Ruth David was blamed for the inability of Falcons to qualify. How can she be the cause when she is not the coach or one of the players? She is a civil servant, who takes directives in all she does about the national teams.
“Ruth is not the nemesis that some people ascribed to her. She is an asset to women football development. As far as I am concerned she is not and will never be the problem of Nigeria women football. Her commitment and passion for women football development is total. She is very experienced and exposed to the game and you can’t just wash away such an asset,” Omidiran, a former member of the House of Representatives said.
Omidiran noted that she was familiar with David when the latter was the team secretary when Omidiran was a board member and recently as chairperson of the women football development committee.
The former proprietor of Omidiran Babes football club of Osogbo said former coach Thomas Dernnaby’s sudden resignation and the players’ inability to convert chances against the Ivoirians in Lagos after a goalless draw in Abidjan cost Nigeria their Olympic Games ticket
She also pointed out that other African countries were catching up in women football, stating that there are no longer minnows in the game.