Mabo wants NFF to revive ‘lost glory’ of women football
• As FIFA U-17 female World Cup begins without Nigeria
For the first time in history of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, Nigeria is missing in the line up of the sixth edition, which kicked off yesterday in Uruguay. The competition started in 2008.
The failure by Nigeria’s Flamingoes to make the party in Uruguay is not going down well with former handler of the Super Falcons, Coach Ismalia Mabo, who yesterday tasked the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to revive what he described as ‘lost glory’ of women football.
In February this year, the Flamingoes failed to book a ticket to Uruguay, losing on away goals rule to Cameroun after they were forced to 1-1 draw in Yaoundé. The Nigerians had come from behind to play a 2-2 draw in the first leg in Benin City. The Flamingoes had featured in all previous five editions of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cups.
This time, Cameroun, Ghana and South Africa are flying Africa’s flag in the championship, which will end on December 1.
Mabo, who led the Super Falcons to the quarterfinal at USA ’99 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the best record ever for Nigeria, told The Guardian yesterday that the absence of Nigeria at Uruguay 2018 would in a way, affect the nation’s women football. “We have lost a whole generation of players following Nigeria’s inability to qualify for Uruguay because those who were supposed to use this World Cup to showcase their talent, and graduate into the U-20 squad have lost the opportunity.
“In the past, we always had easy qualification for the World Cup. How we got to this level is what I don’t understand. My advise to the NFF is to look inward and revive the lost glory of women football as quickly as possible. I am sure our U-17 players will be very sad watching their counterparts from other countries playing at the World Cup.”
Mabo is also sad over the death of one of his ex-players, Ajuma Ameh-Otache, a coach of the Flamingoes, who died a few days ago at the age of 33.
Ameh-Otache won the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON) with the Super Falcons in 2004, and also played for the country at Abuja 2003 All Africa Games as well as Athens 2004 Olympic Games under Coach Mabo.
He described her as one of the most disciplined players to come out of Africa.