FOR 16 years, former Super Falcons captain, Florence Omagbemi, was one of the amazons shouldering Nigeriaâ€™s quest for glory at the FIFA Womenâ€™s World Cup. From the inaugural edition of the championship in China â€™91, to Sweden â€™95, USA â€™99 and USA 2003, Omagbemi was in the forefront, providing cover for the Super Falcons against oppositions.
But her best was not good enough, as the team could not secure passage to the semifinal of the competition, not to talk of featuring in the final.
The best effort by Omagbemi and her â€˜goldenâ€™ generation of the Super Falcons was reaching the second round at USA â€™99, where Nigeria narrowly lost the semifinal ticket to Brazil.
Omagbemi led the Falcons to win the AWC title in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004 and also led the team to appear for the first time at Sydney 2000 Olympics Game.
She has coached several American youth teams to success in the game of football. She was the Assistant Coach to the Nigerian U-20 Women team, Falconets, at Japan 2012 FIFA World, where the country lost in the semifinal to USA.
To her, Club Competitions like the CAF Champions League for the women as well as the CAF Confederation Cup will give African players the platform to prepare adequately for the World Cup.
â€œFIFA is doing a lot to help improve the development of women â€˜s football globally. There are several programmes, which FIFA has introduced to help/support member associations from the six different confederations.
But I feel that CAF needs to play a major part in helping countries from Africa to develop their womenâ€™s football programmes by organising more competitions to keep the girls busy round the year, instead of waiting for a long period of four years to prepare for the World Cup.
â€œIt will also give birth to more female coaches in Africa because by the time female players are involved in different competitions, there will be more sponsors, and member associations will be motivated to draft more female coaches to their national teams. Female football is feminine,â€ Omagbemi stated.
Expectations will be on the African champions, Super Falcons, as well as the Lioness of Cameroun and Les Elephants of Cote dâ€™Ivoire to improve Africaâ€™s rating in Canada 2015, but Omagbemi said the task might be difficult. â€œI believe the three representatives from Africa will do Africa proud, but we need to look beyond the World Cup in Canada.â€