The Nigerian Super Falcons’ Coach, Florence Omagbemi was full of excitement yesterday when the news of her nomination by the World Football governing body (FIFA) for the Coach of the Year award broke out. The other African listed by FIFA yesterday is Gabon striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
While Omagbemi is listed alongside 10 others for the Coach of the Year award, Aubameyang is one of 24 players nominated for The Best Fifa Men’s Player award. The 27-year-old was the top scorer in the Bundesliga last season with 31 goals for Borussia Dortmund.
Speaking with The Guardian from her base in the United States of America, Omagbemi screamed at the top of her voice, saying: “I just woke up and about to say my morning prayer when I saw the news of my nomination by FIFA. I give God the glory for this wonderful news and I also thank FIFA for the recognition despite my short period as coach of the Nigerian women national team.”
In December last year, Omagbemi led the Super Falcons to win an eighth continental title in Cameroun, thereby emerging as the first Africa woman to win the AWC title as a player and coach. Former coach of the Super Falcons Uche Eucharia had retired from playing before the maiden edition of the AWC in 1998 in Abeokuta.
Omagbemi said it would be a dream come true if she eventually won the award. “It is the dream of every coach to win such a prestigious award if the opportunity comes. It will ginger me to do more as a coach,” she stated.
She will have to outshine 10 other coaches for the award. They are Olivier Echouafni (France, French national team), Emma Hayes (England, Chelsea), Ralf Kellermann (Germany, Wolfsburg), Xavi Llorens (Spain, Barcelona), Nils Nielsen (Denmark, Danish national team), Gerard Precheur (France, Lyon), Dominik Thalhammer (Austria, Austrian national team), Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands, Netherlands national team) and Hwang Yong-Bong (North Korea, North Korean national and under-20 teams).
There were no Africans among the nominations for the awards for men’s coach or women’s player that were announced by FIFA yesterday.
The winners from each category will be revealed at a ceremony in London on October 23. She was however left out by the NFF yesterday on the list of coaches shortlisted for an interview into various coaching positions, a move seen as unhealthy for the growth of women football.