By Amaechi Agbo and agency press
The head of Women Football Department in the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Ruth David has been described as the nemesis of women football in Nigeria.
Dapo Sotiminu who stated this recent while guesting in a television sports programme, noted that since Ruth David became the head of women football department in the NFF, nothing has been working.
Mr Sotiminu who was angry over the manner the Super Falcons were bundled out of the 2020 Olympic qualifier by Ivory Coast on Monday, 7 October, wondered why the board members of the NFF turned blind eyes to her horrendous attitude and highhandedness in managing female football as well as players. He added that with what happened to the Super Falcons at the Soccer Temple in Agege, Ruth David has succeeded in taking Nigeria women football at the senior level ten years back.
“A lot of things happened to the super Falcons and I must say right here in this programme that I am not happy with what happened to the Falcons especially because that was the only opportunity a lot of women football followers would have had to cover the Olympics.
“FIFA accreditation actually closed as far back as 2018 and we were hoping that the Super Falcons would pick the ticket. FIFA had sent out accreditation and we are waiting for the Falcons to qualify but this time around, it is not going to be like that. This is happening the third time. The last time the Super Falcons played at the Olympics was in Beijing 2008. I was there with coach Joseph Ladipo who was the head coach of the team. We tried our best but we did not actually go far. Since 2008 up till now, we have not been able to go to Olympics. It is basically all because of poor management of the team, the coaching crew and everything that concerns the female national team.
“The change in captaincy did not come from the NFF secretariat but it came from one of the staff of the NFF secretariat. I do not know why they allowed her and that thing has been going on for a very long time.
“This woman, she is the head of Women Football Department of the NFF. She is not doing too well managing the teams. She does everything negatively. And with what happened to the Super Falcons at the Soccer Temple in Agege, she has succeeded in taking Nigeria women football at the senior level ten years back. We saw what they did at the World Cup in France just in June. This is a team that have closed the gap between Nigeria, Africa and Europe, Asia and South America in women football. Look at the French team that defeated the Falcons 8-0 a year ago in a friendly, they pleaded with the Super Falcons to let them go in the World Cup this year because they are hosting.
“Look at that scenario and compare it with what we played at Agege against an Ivorian team. Poor management of the team, the secretariat, the Secretary-General, the board of Nigeria Football Federation, left everything in the hands of just that lady.
“She is the head of Women Football Department in the NFF. Her name is Ruth David and she has been the nemesis of women football in Nigeria, that is just what I want to say,” he said.
On his part, a fellow guest and Sports editor, Vanguard Newspaper, Tony Ubani blamed the NFF for sowing the seed of failure in female football. Mr Ubani wondered how a staff who came into the federation as a youth corps member could grow over night and become so powerful that NFF board could no longer control her.
“I think the blame rest squarely on the NFF. They are the ones who are sowing the apple seed of discord. There is a proverb in Nigeria which says that no matter how tall okro tree grows, it will never be taller than the one who planted it. No matter how tall it is, the planter can bend it.
“I do not know how a staff, somebody who just came in as a ‘youth corper’, somebody who learnt on the job could become so powerful. It begins to ask so many questions because when you see a mad person dancing in the market, there is somebody within who is beating the drum for him.
“The mess we are in is so annoying because I keep thinking how the Super Falcons that have conquered Africa and are getting at par with the European powers could then suddenly fail flat. And as it is, one thing is that when you make a mistake in football, it drives you back.
“Look at NFF, they have not come out to say anything concerning Thomas Dennerby, who walked away. Thomas Dennerby made allegations pointing to the same person in the women department – a lot of interference, bringing their own players to play. That is at the root of the captaincy issue we saw. After all this, we have paid the costly price, yet, nobody has seen anything bad in it,” he stated.
On what should be the way forward, Mr Sotiminu advised that NFF should without delay, redeploy Ruth David to another department adding that unless this is done, Nigeria women football will not grow.
“For honour, the NFF must be honourable enough to redeploy Ruth David from the women football department. That is the only thing they can actually do.
“Thomas Dennerby was not actually worried about being owed one or two months salaries but his own issue is that he does not want to come back there and meet or work with Ruth David again. And he had a point. This is the correspondent between himself and the minister.
“And he said that because of Ruth David, he would not come back. And what that means is that because of this woman, Nigeria women football at the highest point will not develop. We are going back ten years now because of this thing that has happened.
“The entire team that played against Ivory Coast was actually selected by Ruth David. The coaches did not make any input. And that was why when Danjuma (Christopher) came, he played a player, Monday Gift that is a top striker, he played her left full back. This is a player that plays top striking role and uses both legs easily, and she scores goals. You saw a lot of tactical defects in the team.
“Francisca Ordega that is always a predominant striker, was always shuttling between the defence and the attack, where is the strength?” he queried.