REVEALED: Why Asisat Oshola Was Removed As Super Falcons Captain
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By Amaechi Agbo
On September 17, 2019, Asisat Oshola, then deputy captain of the Super Falcons, was announced as the substantive captain of the team in a controversial circumstances.
In video posted online after the appointment was announced by the then interim coach of the team, Christopher Danjunma during the team’s training ahead of their 2022 Olympics qualifier against Ivory Coast, the players were in a subdued mood until they were cajoled to clap for the new change in the team’s leadership.
Two years and six months later, Asisat Oshola was removed as the Super Falcons captain perhaps, once again, in a controversial circumstances though not well pronounced as the event of 2019.
Oshoala was named Super Falcons captain in September 2019 by Chris Danjuma after captain of the team at the time, Desire Oparanozie was stripped off her armband following a contention with the NFF.
Danjuma had handed Oshoala the armband, after stripping Desire Oparanozie, following her fallout with the Nigerian football authorities, having led a sit-in protest at the 2019 World Cup showpiece I’m France
The Barcelona star, who vice-captained the Super Falcons at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, was elevated to the captaincy post on September 17, 2019, but 30 months later, the reigning and record-equaling four-time Africa Women’s Player of the Year has now been relieved of her leadership role.
The Genesis: Oshola Failed To Deliver In Lagos
According to feelers, Asisat Oshola’s removal was not unconnected with her commitment and performances in the team.
Those in the know believe that her position as the team’s leader became questionable during the Aisha Buhari competition in Lagos late last year.
South Africa women’s national team pulled off a big upset when they pipped Nigeria 4-2 to win the 2021 Aisha Buhari women’s invitational tournament in the closing match at the Mobolaji Johnson Stadium, Onikan on Tuesday, September 21, 2021.
With the Super Falcons playing second to the South Africans with Oshola not in good form as result of goal drought, the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF became distrusted with her commitment and since then penciled her for removal as the team’s leader.
Many believed that her dip in form which also extended during the run of qualifiers for the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, WAFCON could have been T as result of the budden of the armband.
The change of captainship comes just a few days before Nigeria’s 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations build-up games against Olympic champions Canada in two-legged ties on 8 and 11 April respectively in British Columbia.
Head coach Randy Waldrum had named a 25-player roster with the Barcelona star, not in the traveling squad due to injury, having only just seen out seven of her 10-month on the sidelines. The 27-year-old striker will now be missing the fourth successive game for Nigeria due to the thigh injury she suffered while on international duty in February.
Despite her anticipated absence, SportNewsAfrica learned that Oshoala will no longer be part of the Super Falcons’ leadership group following directives from the Nigeria Football Federation to the Waldrum’s led technical crew.
While the American tactician had declined comments on the expected change to the team’s leadership, sources in the Nigerian FA when contacted offered some reasons for the surprising change of captaincy.
“We have no issue whatsoever with Asisat [Oshoala] but thoughts of stripping her of the armbard came after Aisha Buhari Cup last September,” said a high-ranking official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
“This is not for anything negative but for troubling concerns of seeing her struggle in national team colours. We and the coach [Waldrum] observed the captaincy is weighing her down and affecting her play. With or without it, we believe she is a true professional player and should not struggle to prove otherwise by delivering on the pitch.”
Super Falcons veteran Onome Ebi is reported to be the new captain of the team, she’ll be assisted by Francesca Ordega. Both players, at their twilight of their national football, have 66 years between them.
Ebi who turns 39 on May 8, is the most experienced player in the team. And she is a veteran of five World Cups. She previously held the band in the past and captained the Super Falcons to their last AWCON success.
A delegation of the Super Falcons left Nigeria on Tuesday night and connected a flight from Frankfurt to Vancouver on Wednesday. The other players are to fly direct to Vancouver from their bases in Europe and the American continent.
The Nigerian senior women’s national team will clash with reigning Olympic champions Canada in two friendly matches that will hold over three days in the cities of Vancouver and Victoria City.