Maureen Nkeiruka Mmadu is living her dream in Norway where she is the first Nigerian women’s football coach attached to a top European club at Avaldsnes and the former international told PATRICK NGWAOGU that she’s the best woman to lift the Super Falcons from their present quagmire state on the continent.
MAUREEN Nkeiruka Mmadu was born on May 7, 1975 and hails from Onitsha in Anambra State. She is a Nigerian football coach and former midfielder. As a player, she most recently represented Avaldsnes IL, a First Division team based on Norway’s west coast. She played for several other teams in Norway’s Toppserien as well for Linköpings FC and QBIK in the Swedish Damallsvenskan.
She previously played for Klepp IL in the Norwegian Toppserien. Mmadu played for Kolbotn in Oslo, Norway, for the 2010 season, helping them to third place in the Toppserien league. She was seen playing for Avaldsnes IL in an off-season tournament in Oslo on 5 February, 2012.
She was the first Nigerian player to make 100 appearances for the Nigeria women’s national football team including appearing at four FIFA Women’s World Cups as well as the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics.Today, she is the only Nigerian women coach handling a premiership club in Europe.
“From 2012 to date, I have been the assistant coach in Avaldsnes team and chief coach of the same Avaldsens 2 division too,” said Maureen. “So, I’m in the Premier League as assistant and chief coach of 2 division in this same team.
“The club have a lot of respect for me because of my immense contributions to them as a player; I have my UEFA C license as a coach. I’m also a chief coach with a Division 2 women’s team here and an assistant coach in a premier league women team.
“I am also a coach developer in my team since 2012 and I think Nigeria should tap from my wealth of experience as a player and as a coach too.
“I have gathered experience over the years, having played in Europe for 13 years and also as a coach for the past three years with a Premier League women’s team and also a Division 2 women too.
“If I am given the opportunity to handle the Super Falcons, I am going to bring in my best with a lot of experience and teach them how modern-day football is played.
“We have good talents but we lack a lot of things about modern-day football but I will change their African mentality and ways of playing because football now is not only kicking the ball, you also have to teach them what to do when we are not in possession of the ball too.
“I have worked with some of the best coaches in Europe as assistant in the premier league women here in Norway and I have also learned a lot at various coaching courses I have attended,” she revealed.
Speaking further, the former Nigerian international said she was not oblivious of the problems befuddling the Super Falcons following their failure to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as well as missing the soccer Gold Medal at the 2015 All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville.
“I’m not boasting, and I think I can help the Super Falcons at these challenging times when the team is really struggling,” she said. “I will do my best to change their mentality to the way modern football is played now but I have refused to lobby anybody for the job.
“My job should be able to speak for me and If you check the line up of my team, you would see the Colombian player that played in the last World Cup is here with me.
“We have players from different countries like Brazil, Iceland, Ireland, Colombia, USA and Norway too in the team; if the NFF wants the best for our female team, I should be given the job and honestly I will turn the team around; I don’t talk much but my work should speak for me.”
The amiable former hard working midfielder said she already has a strategy in place should she be given the Super Falcons’ job: “I would only take players who are between the ages of 20-28 years and honesty, I will not tolerate any player who is not ready to work for the team and the country.
“I want to be realistic here. There is nothing a foreign coach is going to teach that I can’t but I would want to stop at that. The difference would only be the colour.
“I have played football at the top level and I have worked with top coaches and I have also played under top coaches and I am now a coach too, so what quality of coaching does the Super Falcons need that I don’t have?
“We have talented players but we are missing a lot in formation, organisation, collective and tactical things to make our women football grow, and I think I have what it takes to handle the Super Falcons at this time,” she concluded