Falcons’ Player Set To Dump Nigeria

Posted by By Sunday Akintoye on 2009/01/19 | Views: |

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Falcons’ Player Set To Dump Nigeria

Ijeoma Obi is a skilful player. Her football artistry really helped her to play in Nigeria’s female professional league before she got an offer in 2007 with KMF Football Club of Finland.

Ijeoma Obi is a skilful player. Her football artistry really helped her to play in Nigeria’s female professional league before she got an offer in 2007 with KMF Football Club of Finland.

Obi started her football career in the city of Jos, Plateau state, with Jubila Babes, in 2003. The challenge in Jos was not as competitive as what Obi looked forward to as a young and upcoming player. So she thought of coming down to the Centre of Excellence, Lagos, in 2003, where she eventually kick-started her football career.

“When I arrived Lagos, I joined some grassroots clubs. I decided to take the game seriously. It was not easy for me then as a young player, but I remained focused. I played in the All-Stars championship organised by the Amalgamation of Nigeria Women Football Club coaches, in 2003. It was in the tourney that I got an offer to play for the Delta Queens,” she said.

Obi said initially her parents were not in support of her playing football until when they saw her on the pages of newspapers. “My parents were excited reading about their daughter in the news. They had no choice than to give me their support from then,” Obi said.

The young player, who was determined to take her football to its zenith, was first invited to the Super Falcons in 2004. That was the first time she was invited to the senior national team camp. Luckily for her, she made the final selection for the African Women Championship (AWC), under the tutelage of coach Godwin Izillien.

According to her, “I never thought I would make the final selection. It was not by my power, there were many experienced players I met in the national team. So, when I finally made the team, it was a thing of joy for me and my parents,” she said.

Every player’s dream is to feature for her country in international championships. Obi went to the Africa Women championship in South Africa, in 2004. She played in the opening match against Cameroon.

The former Delta Queens star was among the new players in the Falcons, who were given an opportunity to prove their mettle. She told P.M.Sports that despite the fact that she played only one match in the AWC, she was happy to wear the national colours of Nigeria.

“Honestly speaking, I was a young player in the national team. I only played the opening match against Cameroon, which ended in a 2-2 draw. This was a dream come true for me to wear the national jersey because there are many players out there who are better,” she said.

The knee injury Obi suffered during an international friendly between Nigeria and South Africa, in Warri, Delta state, nearly ruined the career of the player. She was out of action for almost two years. According to her, “I picked up a knee injury during a friendly match with South Africa, in Warri, in 2005. I survived the injury. I got an offer with a club in Finland.”

Obi is, however, angry with the coaches of the Falcons for dropping her on the road to the last AWC in Equatorial Guinea, where Nigeria lost her number one position to the Guineans.

The light-skinned striker disclosed that there is no transparency in the method the coaches adopt in selecting players for national assignment. Obi said she is not surprised that some Nigerian athletes are dumping Nigeria for other countries. She said the time will come when Nigeria will be struggling to qualify for FIFA-organised competitions.

“The players who were dropped in the last Africa Women Championship were better than those who eventually made the tourney. I was not really sad for my non-inclusion in the national team, but I will wait for my time. When my time comes, nobody can stop me,” she said.

Obi, who is not happy about the performance of the Falcons in Equatorial Guinea, said the performance of Super Falcons did not surprise her, saying that most of the players that made the tourney were not good enough to make the team.

“I was in Finland during that time. I only watched their opening match against Ghana. I saw a d

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