The Coach said none of the remaining home based players in camp will be dropped for now
Less than three weeks to the commencement of the Africa Women Championship, AWC, the Super Falcons Chief Coach, Kadiri Ikhana, has dropped three more home based players from camp and said his team is on course to retain the title it won two years ago.
The latest set of players sent home from the Abuja camp includes Ineh Queens’ defender, Chidiebere Maraihe, and Sherifat Saheed, an attacker from Sunshine Queens of Akure. Also dropped was attacker, Shola Oyewusi, also of Sunshine, who was part of Ikhana’s team during the AWC qualifiers, as well as the two-legged friendly games with Banyana Banyana of South Africa.
Ikhana had previously dropped three players, bringing the total number of decamped players to six. The first three dropped include striker, Fausat Olayiwola; and Ineh Queens’ duo of Ijeoma Emenike and Chiudo Ehiudo.
The coach encouraged the dropped not to feel bad to have been dropped from the team.
“These players have done very well which is why I invited them to camp. They must keep working hard and improving on their talents because they definitely have that
“They all have a future with the Super Falcons and I want them to remember that. The door is not closed and they must be ready when that opportunity comes again,” he said.
The goalkeepers’ battle
The absence of goalkeeper Chiudo Ehiudo means that four goalkeepers, Precious Dede, Tochukwu Oluehi, Ebubeleye Whyte and Dikachi Uzor, will now fight for places in Ikhana’s final squad for Africa’s biggest football tournament for women.
According to Ikhana, competition for spots keeps players on their toes as they realize that the team will be picked on form.
“It is important that we have competition in all departments. This will keep everyone on her toes. There is no room for complacency.
“We have four good goalkeepers in the squad including captain [Precious] Dede. This is good for us because that position is a very key one – our last defender. It is great to see them pushing each other in training. That was the aim and we are getting the results,” he said.
We won’t drop more players yet
Talking to PREMIUM TIMES, Ikhana, one of the most successful coaches in Nigerian football stated that the Falcons are going about the preparations for the Championship at the best possible way.
“Right now, we are going gradually. We are shaping out and we are inviting some and sending some away. We have twenty six (26) players in camp,” he said.
The coach said the technical crew would not reduce the number of home based players in camp.
“We are expecting the foreign based players between the 13th and 14th of this month, and until they come we are going to retain the 26 players we have in camp,” he said.
The Falcons coach said his team would travel soon out of the country soon for the final lap of the preparation.
“But I can assure you that ‘we are very stable. Everyone is fine, the camp is very nice and we are very ready for the challenges ahead,” he said.
In two of their last friendlies, the falcons lost 4-2 to an U-21 Academy Team, and beat the female All Stars Team 5-1.
“These are just games to keep us in shape, read nothing into them. Immediately we travel out to the venue of our final preparation we shall intensify our preparations and play stronger teams.” Coach Ikhana said.
The Super Falcons are the most successful African Women Team in history, winning eight titles.
The 2012 African Women’s Championship is billed for Equatorial Guinea and will hold from October 28 to November 11.