REVEALED: Why Dennerby Dumped Super Falcons, Danjuma Drafted In
By Amaechi Agbo
Super Falcons Coach, Thomas Dennerby has left the team unceremoniously over claims that some influential members of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) were interfering in his work as Falconets coach, Chris Danjuma has been drafted in to take charge of the team as they play in the second round of the 2020 Olympic qualifier against Cote d’Ivoire later this month, Bestchoicesports.com.ng can report.
The 60-year-old Dennerby has been in-charge of the Super Falcons for over 18 months. He was engaged in January, 2018.
Best Choice Sports had in August reported plans by a cabal in the NFF to frustrate Dennerby out of the team. The cabal who are from the Secretariat and Women Department of the federation worked against the wishes of the coach to have his former assistant, Maureen Mmadu retained as well as blocked him from inviting Falcons combative midfielder, Rita Chikwelu, and others to the qualifiers against Algeria.
A source close to the NFF said the Swede, who led Nigeria to yet another African Women Nations Cup triumph last year and the round of 16 at the France 2019 Women World Cup, left the country immediately after Nigeria’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifier against Algeria at the Agege Stadium on September 3.
“Dennerby complained that some NFF officials were making his job difficult for some selfish reasons. These officials ensured that some players, who complained that they were being owed allowances and winning bonuses, were shut out of the national team. These officials wield enormous power in the women teams.
“He got angry that these people have taken their activities to his team selection and decided the best thing to do was to go away. But we are trying to talk to him and address his concerns in the interest of the nation,” the source said.
Before he left, Dennerby was preparing the Super Falcons for a Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifier against Cote d’Ivoire for which the federation recently invited 30 overseas and home-based players to camp. The players, according to the NFF, are expected to arrive in camp today, but the source said Dennerby may not likely return to lead the team against Cote d’Ivoire unless on-going efforts to convince him to return succeeds. The source added that the crisis infested NFF has asked Falconets’ Head Coach, Christopher Danjuma to take charge of the team for the Cote d’Ivoire game.
More facts that the Swedish had abandoned the team emerged when on 13th of September, NFF released the list of the players to prosecute the matches against Cote d’Ivoire with Dennerby’s name not mentioned in the release. This was in contradiction with the earlier release the NFF made when the team tackled Algeria in the second round qualifier.
In the release made on 7th August, the NFF said “Tokyo 2020: Dennerby invites 30 Super Falcons for Algeria,” with Dennerby’s name appearing in the headline and lead of the release unlike the 13th September release with the heading “Tokyo 2020: Super Falcons to regroup for Cote d’Ivoire,” with the coaches name never mentioned a single time.
Dennerby, who returned to his native country of Sweden two weeks ago, is not back in Nigeria to lead the team against the Elephants with two weeks to go to the first leg tie in Abidjan.
The Swede left the country after leading the Super Falcons to the third round of the African Women’s Olympic qualifiers. This was after a 3-0 aggregate win over Algeria but he is now on the verge of leaving his post.
The 60-year-old gaffer, who led Sweden to finish third at the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany, had signed a two-and-a-half-year contract to take charge of the team in January 2018.
In his last 18-months in charge, Dennerby led Nigeria to a third-place finish at the 2018 Wafu Women’s Cup in Cote d’Ivoire, where he returned to lift the title in 2019.
He also won the 2018 African Women’s Cup of Nations in Ghana and later steered the nation to the Women’s World Cup knockout stage for the first time in 20 years in France earlier this summer.
Dennerby and the Nigeria Football Federation are yet to comment on the matter, but a top NFF source told Goal the gaffer is threatening to quit due to his frustration and lack of support.
“It is a serious matter because he [Thomas Dennerby] has been complaining about a lack of support which was not really from the NFF leadership but the secretariat,” the source informed Goal.
“Most of his demands are administrative. He wants a permanent residence in Nigeria to stay and also support to travel around and see league matches week in, week out.
“Although he is still being owed one to two months he is not complaining about the money but the necessary administrative backing for his day-to-day activities.
“I also think the major reason why he is not happy was the fact he was not informed about some of his key players taken to the African Games when he was planning for the Olympic qualifiers.
“Well, he felt his job was tied to the Olympics and denying access to his best players was possibly a ploy to sabotage him. We don’t know if he will return or not but these are some of his demands.”
Having learned about Dennerby’s stance, the NFF has swiftly drafted U20 women’s head coach Christopher Danjuma to lead the team against Clementine Toure’s side, on the interim basis.
Danjuma, who recently invited 37 players, will be assisted by his U20 assistants – Wemimo Matthew and Abdul-lateef Yusuf as the Super Falcons open camp in Abuja on Sunday.
It is not the first time Dennerby had threatened to quit for similar reasons. At the moment, it is unclear whether the NFF, led by Amaju Pinnick, will be interested to honour the demands of Dennerby.
The Super Falcons camp opened in Abuja on Sunday while the first leg of the qualifier will hold at on September 30 while the return leg will hold on 6th October at Agege Stadium, Lagos.
Thomas Dennerby’s contract was to expire after the Olympics in August 2020.