Let This Be The Girl

By Desmond Ekwueme

Posted  26 Views updated 9 days ago

Desire Oparanozie appears to have been tactically "Blacklisted" from the Super Falcons just because she protested over the unpaid bonuses and allowances of the team during the 2019 FIFA Women World Cup.

She was team captain and needed to speak and act on behalf of her teammates many of whom kept pestering her secretly to ask for their entitlements.

But when she acted and her Captain's armband was stripped off her and she was tactically "blacklisted" everyone including her teammates kept mute. Most of those who supported her action are still in the team. But that's an issue for another day.

Recently a list of 23 players was released by coach Randy Waldrum for Turkey invitational and Oparanozie's name was not on the list. I personally don't think it should be an issue since she is not begging anyone to recall her into the team neither did she do anything wrong to deserve the present treatment meted out on her.

Saying she should work hard or harder and push for her inclusion back into the team as stated in part of the statement of the NFF Communication department is rubbing it in. It is making the intension of those against her very obvious... so to say. That she was excluded is enough slap on her face and it should have been left that way. I don't think she needs any further explanation...or the NFF owe her any explanation.

Oparanozie isn't desperate to play for a team she has served for years and equally captained. She is playing professional football abroad and God has been faithful to her.

But we must watch it. We must watch the ways and manners we treat our players. We force them to quit the national team unceremoniously over petty issues.

This was the same way former skipper of Super Falcons Kikelomo Ajayi was kicked out of the team shortly after the African Women Championship triumph in South Africa.

It equally happened to former captain and Chief coach of the team Florence Omagbemi after she led the team to win the African Women Championship in Cameroun.

The team was not paid and the then Sports Minister, Barr. Solomon Dalung said the country did know that the team will win the championship hence his ministry didn't prepare for funds to cater for such expenses.

The team protested and stormed the office of the Late Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari who promptly resolved the issue and made funds available to settle the girls.

Rather than leave the matter at that, some members of the team were witch-hunted including the technical crew which had Omagbemi and Perpetual Nkwocha-Nwufoh as coaches....The rest like they say is history.

We knew how Vincent Enyeama was frustrated out of the Super Eagles at a point we needed him most.

This attitude by the NFF is unfortunate. Back to Oparanozie....I think we should let this girl be. There are persons who did similar things but are still in the team.

Present team captain, Asisat Oshoala was roundly condemned just because she threw her weight behind the #EndSARS Protest. Yours Sincerely defended her action as it was her right to do so. I was equally condemned and all manners of stones were hurled at me. I was branded enemy of Nigeria and Nigerian football.

The fact that some players in the present squad called up by Waldrum had not seen action in the last one year as alleged by Oparanozie in her response to the statement by the NFF Communication department speaks volume of her exclusion.


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