Ahead of the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup which kicks-off on Sunday head coach of FC Robo, Emmanuel Osahon has pleaded with the authorities to ensure that the girls are not distracted in their quest for glory in France.
Of the final twenty-one in France, FC Robo boasts of three players (all in attack) who will be at the tournament. They include last season’s player of the season and highest goalscorer in the league, Rasheedat Ajibade; Gift Monday and Chidinma Okeke. With three of his girls in France already here is what Emmanuel Osahon had to say.
“Let us just keep praying for Nigeria. It all depends on preparation but let us keep praying for Nigeria that is all I can say for now.
“You know the preparation counts a lot, you know what I mean and you are a Nigerian too and and you know how Nigerians are. This is not the Nigerian league or an African league. They have played in Africa and conquered Africa, we thank God for that. But playing in another continent with different ideas and preparation, we need to see if our preparation is adequate so we need to pray and in anything you do in life God first,” he said in a conversation with ACLSports.
Talking about the group stage where the Falconets face Germany, China and Haiti, Osahon stresses the need to allow the girls focus by putting all the necessary things in place.
“I think we played Germany in this competition some years back and we also lost one final to Germany recently. We lost that final because one person did not want to pass to another and all that. And in the national team now I have started hearing different stories that the minister went there did this and did that.” Clearly perturbed, Osahon said: “They should not distract the girls. That is my own conclusion. They should not distract the girls.”
“If we are together and in a good frame of mind we will win. The coach has done a good job (not because my girls are there); but my concern is distraction. There are some certain things they ought to have sorted in Nigeria before they got to this level so they should not distract them because these people are women and any small thing they lose concentration.”
For clarity and to set the records straight, ACLSports then tried to inquire on the issues he was referring to and coach Osahon said: “They said they haven’t been paid their bonuses. Then I saw something online that the minister went to visit them and was talking about bonuses. You can imagine that kind of talk coming at the 11th hour. They ought to have been cleared by now and should have told the girls go for this game, win this match and we will give you this; not discussing backlog or arrears of bonuses.”
“They played six matches no bonus. Some of these girls are the breadwinners of their families and playing for the national team, what do they have to show for it? I am just hearing these things that they haven’t given them their bonus because in my own club I source for how they go to camp and come back so I don’t know what is happening now,” he said.
So barring any distractions, do you think the girls will perform well ACLSports asked? “They will go far, they will go far,” the FC Robo head coach said.
“We just need to psych them. Women need to be psyched. Tell them if you win this cup this is what will happen and they will go for it because Nigerian girls are very industrious,” he added.
Nigeria begin their campaign on Monday afternoon, the 6th of August against familiar foes Germany in what looks to be a crucial game as they take the first step in their quest for glory in France.