Coaches did not seize phones from players, team coordinator affirms

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Nigeria’s soccer team players run with balls during a training session AFP/Getty Images/ JEWEL SAMAD

Chief Coach of the Super Falcons, Florence Omagbemi, has cleared the air on news making the rounds that she seized phones and I-pad from the players representing Nigeria at the on-going 10th African Women’s Nations Cup in Cameroun.

There were reports that Super Falcons’ players were being treated like ‘school girls’ and not as professionals in the team’s camp here. But the Team Coordinator, Ejiro Femi-Babafemi told The Guardian yesterday that the decision to hand over their phones and I-pads to the officials a day before any match was taken by the players.

“It was purely the decision of the players to hand their phones and I-pads to me on the eve of any match. They decided that on their own and communicated to us.

We saw it as a good development because it makes the job of the officials so easy. The players resolved on their own that they want to avoid all sorts of distractions before every match.

“On the eve of our match against Mali last Sunday, the team captain, Rita Chikwuelu, brought the phones to me and immediately after the match, I handed over their phones and I-pads to them.

“On Tuesday evening, which was the eve of the game against Ghana, the captain gathered the phones and their I-pads and handed over to me. So, where did the coach come into the picture? We don’t stop anybody from writing stories about the team, but our journalists should try and verify things before going to publish them. In the same way, the players also resolved among themselves that they would go to bed by 9.00 p.m. instead of the usual 10.00 p.m. we operated during our camping in Abuja. We need absolute concentration to do Nigeria proud,” Babafemi stated

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