Sports

May 11, 2024

Super Falcons must work hard to excel in Paris Olympics — Vera Okolo

The Super Falcons of Nigeria on Thursday whitewashed Cape Verde 5-0 in the first leg of the final round of the qualifiers for the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON).

Former Nigeria international, Vera Okolo has charged the 2024 Paris Olympics-bound Super Falcons to go all out and excel in the football tournament. Nigeria is grouped alongside USA, Australia and Germany.

The Falcons played last in the Olympics in Beijing in 2008. Vera was in that team coached by Ismaila Mabo.

The former Super Falcons winger said despite being in a group with strong teams the Nigerian women can still spring surprises because, in her words, “no team is unbeatable.”

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However, the former exciting player warned, “they(the Falcons) need to work harder… “In the 2002 World Cup, we had three months to prepare. We must make it a priority to ensure our athletes get adequate preparation before any tournament. To win an Olympic gold medal doesn’t come cheap.”

She recalled that in 2002, while at the World Cup a Swedish player told her that they had been in camp for 18 months. “Their preparation for the next Olympics begins when this 2024 Paris Olympics end. Four years of training is not enough to win an Olympic medal, except in rare cases.”

Okolo who is based in Delta state was in Lagos during the week to lend a helping hand to her friend and former colleague Chioma Ajagba who, through her foundation, ‘Vault of Hope’ has been touching peoples’ lives in Lagos.

According to Okolo, the foundation organised a sports fiesta at CMS Grammar School, including a four-team football competition. “That school is my friend’s Alma Mater. After the games, we followed that up with the distribution of food items at Bariga to the impoverished members of the society. That is where my friend started her career. It’s a way of giving back to the society.”