Waldrum hails Oparanozie, 3 other Super Falcons who stood up to NFF

Oparanozie led a potential Super Falcons boycott at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. (Photo Credit: Imago)

Waldrum hails Oparanozie, 3 other Super Falcons who stood up to NFF

Ayoola Kelechi 20:07 - 06.07.2023

Super Falcons' coach Randy Waldrum has hailed four brave players for daring to stand up the NFF during his reign as coach

Super Falcons coach Randy Waldrum has revealed four players who he claims have been instrumental in the team’s struggles to get their just deserts from the Nigerian Football Federation. 

Waldrum salutes Opranozie and others for bravery 

In a recent podcast interview, the American coach decried the state of the team’s preparations heading into the World Cup but also noted that a few players had shown courage by standing up to the federation to demand better treatment for the Super Falcons. 

Waldrum was asked on the ‘On the Whistle’ podcast if any of the Super Falcons players had made him proud with their willingness to stand up for themselves and the team, and the former University of Pittsburgh coach named four players, although noting that there had been consequences for taking a stance against the NFF. 

He noted, “When I first took over the job, they had just come from the World Cup, and the following year were getting ready to qualify for the Olympics…. Desire Oparanozie is one that spoke out at the World Cup, very strongly. 

Super Falcons coach Randy Waldrum
Super Falcons coach Randy Waldrum

“She was the captain, and she should have spoken out for her teammates. She spoke out about not getting paid, and all the issues they were going through, and they dismissed her from the team. 

“When I first got in, I called her into camp, and they wouldn’t let me. The president had dismissed her. They didn’t like the way that she went to the public and went to the media and the stance that they took. She was the leader of the pack, so she was the one that got punished. 

“She is one that I’m really proud of. She was doing the right thing and doing what her job called for as the captain. 

In addition to Oparanozie, Waldrum also noted the contributions of Barcelona’s star forward Asisat Oshoala in ensuring that the Super Falcons received what they were due. 

Waldrum noted, “Asisat Oshoala is one I can always turn to and talk to. She’s very good about standing up and going to the federation, and discussing. 

“She’s not one that’s going to do that publicly, but she’s one that’s willing to go in and butt heads and say what she believes and what the players need. She’s a very strong voice in there with us as well.”

Waldrum reveals Oluehi was banned from Super Falcons for speaking against the federation

The 66-year-old gaffer also noted that current captain Onome Ebi had on occasion lent her voice to the cause of the Super Falcons with the NFF, saying, “Our captain right now, Onome Ebi, has played in five World Cups, this will be her sixth. She’s got a good strong voice within the federation too.”

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Finally, Waldrum recalled Tochi Oluehi, who dared to speak up during the players’ strike that rocked the 2022 Women’s AFCON, where the Super Falcons finished fourth after losing to Zambia in the third-place playoff. 

Waldrum explained the debacle at the Women’s AFCON saying, “Then, with what happened at AFCON… one of our goalkeepers, Tochi [Oluehi] stood up in the team meeting, when they were boycotting and spoke her mind, and they dismissed her. 

“They didn’t like that. She didn’t go public, this was said in the confines of the team meeting room. After AFCON, she was not allowed into any of the other camps. I finally convinced them to let her back in, but she had to write a letter of apology and all of these things. 

“These are some players, those four, I can tell you, speak out and speak for the team, and I’m really proud of them.”

Waldrum, however, noted that other players could not be blamed for failing to speak up in like manner after watching the consequences meted out to those who dared to challenge the NFF, saying, “The others have seen what has happened to them, and they fear coming out publicly because they have seen an example, if you speak out publicly, you get dismissed.”

As the tensions continue between Waldrum and the NFF, fans of the Super Falcons will be hoping that the team remains unaffected as they start their World Cup campaign in Australia on the 21st of July against Canada.

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