By Femi Atolagbe
The Super Falcons’ class of 1999 will be the star attraction of the 3rd NFF-Aiteo Football Awards holding in Lagos today
The team led by Captain Florence Omagbemi, the Falcons defeated North Korea 2-1 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena with goals from Mercy Akide and Rita Nwadike, before losing 1-7 to the USA despite taking a second-minute lead through Nkiru Okosieme.
Defeat to the Americans in Chicago stirred something in Africa’s lone flag-bearer at the first FIFA Women’s World Cup to feature 16 teams.
In their next match, the Super Falcons flew past Denmark 2-0 at the Jack Kent Cooke Stadium near Washington DC, the goals coming from Mercy Akide and Nkiru Okosieme.
“The performance of the Super Falcons in that tournament remains etched in the memory and it is important that we honour them with a special recognition award,” said President of NFF and FIFA Council Member, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick.
Fifteen members of that 1999 squad, as well as Coach Ismaila Mabo, will be on hand at the Banquet Hall of Eko Hotels & Suites on Monday night. Eight of them are being flown down from the United States of America. Sadly, attacking midfielder Ifeanyi Chiejine died last year.
The 20-woman squad: Florence Omagbemi, Ann Chiejine, Yinka Kudaisi, Martha Tarhemba, Adanna Nwaneri, Eberechi Opara, Kikelomo Ajayi, Stella Mbachu, Rita Nwadike, Gloria Usieta, Marvis Ogun, Prisca Emeafu, Judith Chime, Nkiru Okosieme, Maureen Mmadu, Florence Iweta, Nkechi Egbe, Patience Avre, Mercy Akide, Ifeanyi Chiejine.
Also to be honoured at an event to be attended by the Secretary General of FIFA, Ms Fatma Samoura, is Princess Bola Ngozi Jegede, a respected pioneer sponsor, promoter and galvanizer of women’s football. Princess Jegede, who is also a former Board Member of the Nigeria Football Federation, founded and funded the team, Jegede Babes.