Super Falcons forward, Ngozi Okobi, reacts to being left out of Coach Waldrum’s FIFA World Cup squad and isn’t sure of playing again.
Super Falcons forward, Ngozi Okobi, has lamented at her exemption in the team’s squad at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia, and is unsure if she’ll ever play for Nigeria again, Soccernet.ng reports.
The versatile twenty-nine-year-old, who plays popularly in the number ten role, talked about her shock at missing out on the team list for the competition and how it broke her.
With a career spanning from the Under 17 level to the senior team, Okobi’s exclusion from the tournament hit her hard, and she’s yet to recover.
She also felt the manner in which the message was delivered was derogatory, as it hadn’t happened before, but the omission from the squad hurt her a lot.
She mentioned that her husband was there to comfort her, as she couldn’t watch the group opener against Canada, but she made it against Australia. Speaking on XSpaces, interviewed by Osasu Obiayiuwana, Ngozi said;
“I couldn’t watch the game live, because I felt very bad. It was very difficult for me, but when I saw the second game, it broke me because I thought I should have been there.”
“After the game against Australia, I felt okay, because the players didn’t offend me. I have people I call best friends in this team, and I also have people who are looking up to me to advise them. So I had to keep watching so I can give feedback to these people and the younger girls.”
She did however think, that the Super Falcons could have done with some extra options in attack, after clearly being the side with the upper hand in the round of sixteen tie in Brisbane, and she made it clear that her talent cannot be easily swayed or replaced, and that if she had been there, the girls would have had a better chance of qualification.
“Those are the kind of games I play, and I play very well. The Super Falcons still need a player like me, we need creative players like me, and I have a talent that nobody else can replace right now and the Super Falcons lack that. Toni Payne did her best, and I told her that she did well, but she’s not there yet. She’s not at that level yet, but she’s a very good player.”
Quizzed on missing out on the grand prize of sixty thousand dollars which is set to be awarded to each player for a job well done at the tournament, the Levante Las Planas forward mentioned how the money definitely aided the spirited performance we saw in Brisbane.
“Money is what motivated the team, of course. That is a team that I’ve been with for years. So don’t promise us, because you’ll definitely pay for it. It’s sad I’m not part of this group, but life goes on. Everything that has been lost now can be achieved in the future.”
When asked about her future with the Nigerian team, Okobi remained completely blaise and refrained from making a definite comment. Her ambiguity about donning the Nigerian jersey again reflects the complex emotions she is grappling with, suggesting a need for time to process her experiences and emotions fully.
“I can’t say right now. When I’m ready to talk about it, I would do so.”
Like fans all over the country, she was devastated after the loss, as she affirmed that she still feels like a part of the team, and watching the game back home felt more like a live experience for her. She said;
“In the last game, I felt like a part of the team. I felt too bad because I wanted them to win. I wanted to be there. I felt like I was there physically, and I felt we should have done more than this. We lack finishing and experienced strikers up front. The defence was good, but we should have killed that game. I expected that to take that as an advantage.”
The first batch of the Nigerian Falcons have recently arrived in their homeland, and the country awaits to see the other batches of the players who have impressed the Nigerian football community.