Media officer of Nigeria’s senior football women’s team Oluchi Tobe-Chukwu has said the team was never disturbed by criticisms coming from various quarters in the Nigerian football community.
Randy Waldrum’s open criticism of his employers – Nigeria Football Federation, regarding several issues, including Super Falcons World Cup team selection, unpaid bonuses, and the absence of his assistant, had left Nigerians with little or no belief in the nine time African Champions.
The Falcons however left the controversies behind them with a spirited draw against Olympics Champion, Canada and a 3-2 victory over co-host Australia on Thursday.
Oluchi Tobe-Chukwu, while featuring on BCOS flagship Sports Show, Saturday Breakfast Sports Show, responded to a question from the programme’s anchor Boluwaji Ogunmola, on how the team reacted to the negative comments about their chances prior to the World Cup.
She says: “It never disturbed us as we knew we had a team that had quality. We knew what happened at the last WAFCON in Morocco was a one-off and we knew what we had to do (in the World Cup) was to have determination and focus.”
The Media Officer further added that the addition of a performance/fitness coach in Kyle Quigley has added value to the team because the fitness and endurance level of the girls have increased saying Head Coach Randy Waldrum and the girls will certainly finish off their good job in their next game.
She however dispelled fears that some key members of the squad might miss Monday’s game against Republic of Ireland due to injury.
Midfielder, Halimat Ayinde limped off the pitch with what looked like an ankle problem in the second half against Australia.
Defender Michelle Alozie also sustained what appeared to be a knock in the game, while Osinachi Ohale also sustained an injury.
Tobe-chukwu, assured that the players are recovering well and will be fit for the match against the Republic of Ireland.
“The team doctor is in position to analyse the status of players in terms of fitness. We are not in the position to announce that a player is ruled out of the tournament like we did for Asisat (Oshoala) at the last WAFCON in Morocco. But I can assure you that the players are recovering well.”
She appreciated the support of the Nigerian contingent in Brisbane and those back home saying the girls will continue to handle each game as it comes.
The Super Falcons will, in their last group game, take on Ireland at the Lang Park, Brisbane on Monday.
The Nigerian team need just a point from the game to secure a place in the Round of 16.