Super Falcons midfielder – Ngozi Sonia Okobi-Okeoghene, has revealed the mode by which she discovered her omission from the 23-woman team list destined for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, bsnsports.com.ng reports.
The 29-year-old spoke with renowned Sports writer and lawyer, Osasu Obayiuwana on XSpaces in an explosive interview on Thursday morning that revealed her ordeal before, during, and after the World Cup campaign featuring the Super Falcons.
“It was difficult for me to watch the first game because I had mixed feelings watching the team I was omitted from, without injury worries or unavailability issues.
“I only saw highlights of the game during the day but couldn’t bring myself to see the opener against Canada in real time.
“But I saw the second game because they are still a team I cherish, and I also have a younger generation of players who look up to me for counsel, so I had to watch for details and feedback,” she said.
Recall that bsnsports.com.ng wrote about Ngozi’s dissatisfaction via a statement released on her page following her exclusion from the squad list released by Randy Waldrum in June.
However, the mode by which she realized her omission was left to the imagination until now.
“I got to know about my exclusion from the list through our WhatsApp platform, and I was disappointed to the point of tears while on my way home.
“Several of my teammates and friends reached out to me to console me to the point where I had to turn off my phone,” Ngozi narrated on the Spaces platform.
“Getting left out (of the squad) made me feel bad and think of making drastic decisions (like quitting the Super Falcons team after not making the 23-woman squad for the World Cup).
“It felt like I wasn’t good enough to play professional football for the national team,” she said.
In saner climes, professional courtesy is expected to take precedence in a national setting like the Super Falcons, especially in dealings of squad inclusion and omission.
But Ngozi’s experience leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
“Despite a series of camping, no one told me about the omission until I found out abruptly online.
“No one said anything, and I don’t think it’s right because they should try to learn and do better because you don’t treat people that way.
“In reality, it is not normal not to communicate a player’s omission from the squad list even my teammates all found out via the platform.
“I haven’t experienced this mode of treatment before, probably because I have not been in this position where players are called or notified.”
In the 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations, Ngozi was an integral part of the Super Falcons on their way to securing a ticket to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup after finishing 4th-best in Morocco.
Ngozi was an unused sub against South Africa in the opening fixture, played for 64 minutes against Botswana before getting replaced by Regina Ibiang Otu in the second, played 90 minutes in the 4-0 win over Burundi, played 73 minutes against Cameroon in the quarters, and 89 minutes against Morocco in the semis, before starring all through the third-place tie against Zambia.
On if she will ever feature for Nigeria internationally, Nogozi preferred not to speak but stated she will reveal her decision regarding the Super Falcons when the time is right.