By Ben Efe
Former Falcons coach, Eucharia Uche has expressed regrets over the outing of the national women team at the African Women Championships concluded last weekend in Equatorial Guinea with the Falcons coming home empty handed.
Uche was at the helms when the Falcons regained the trophy in 2010, after they were beaten to third place in 2008 with coach Josy Lad in charge. Uche then led the team to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany where they won their first-ever World Cup match, 1-0 against Canada. However, Uche failed to secure qualification for the 2011 All Africa Games in Mozambique and the London 2012 Olympics and her contract was not renewed by the Nigeria Football Federation. Kadiri Ikhana took her place and it turned out to be a bad experiment.
“It was sad that we have to go out the way we did. It shows that other African countries have caught up with us and we must be making the right decision to stay at the top,” said the coach.
Before she was shown the way out, Uche had implored the NFF to let her continue with her work with the Falcons on the premise that she had learned valued lessons that will help the team recover, but she was ignored as the NFF wanted a foreign coach, but settled for Ikhana when that plan failed to materialise.
Looking back at the team’s performance at Equatorial Guinea, Uche said: “Only God knows what could have happened if I were in charge. But I’m sure we could have settled for something better.”
The Falcons were dismissed in the semi-final by South Africa, while they were finally pushed out of reckoning by Cameroon in the third place match. Coach Ikhana has since resigned, but the NFF is yet to make any pronouncement on the way forward as Ikhana was yet to submit his report.