Only Waldrum can exclude Oshoala from Banyana clash – Ex-Falcons


By: Godwin Aikigbe

Ex-Super Falcons stars Stella Mbachu and Maureen Mmadu say the decision to play late arrival Asisat Oshoala in Friday’s (today) Women’s Olympic Qualifying CAF first leg against South Africa lies solely with the team’s head coach, Randy Waldrum.

CAF Women’s Player of The Year Oshoala has come under scathing criticisms online following her late arrival to camp on Thursday ahead of today’s crucial clash against bitter rivals Banyana Banyana.

Sharing their thoughts on the epic clash at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja in separate interviews with The PUNCH, the Nigerian legends said only a coach could decide to either play or leave out a player from a match based on fitness and importance.

“What I want and what Nigerians want don’t matter as much as what the coach thinks of the player (Oshoala). She could have a reason for arriving late in camp, which is agreeable to the coach. The coach needs to win the match, and if Oshoala is fit and can help with a win, the coach can go ahead and play her because he will be the one to blame if the result is not positive,” Mbachu, a former Falcons striker, who scored 20 goals in 88 appearances for Nigeria between 1999 and 2014, said.

Retired midfielder Maureen Mmadu, who earned 101 caps for Nigeria between 1993 and 2011, corroborated Mbachu’s assertions, saying, “It will not be the first time a coach will feature a player in a match despite arriving late to camp late. It depends on the importance of the player and if he or she is indispensable.

“If a coach feels that a player who arrived in camp late is irreplaceable and fit to play, he can go ahead and feature the player. This is a very crucial match and Nigeria needs a good result to qualify for the Olympics after missing out on the last three editions.

“The coach should be allowed to feature any player that can help the team win because that is the important thing.”

Tongues wagged after it emerged that Oshoala was to join up with the rest of the players in camp on Thursday, without any reasons advanced by both Waldrum and the Nigeria Football Federation.

The Bay FC striker remains an integral part of the Falcons and is expected to play a leading role in the double header on and off the pitch.

She is the most celebrated female player in Africa, having won the Africa Women’s Player of The Year a record six times.