It was less than a month ago that I was informed by Super Falcons defender, Ms. Onome Ebi, that she was finalizing her plans to travel from her base in Sweden to Nigeria. She was going back on a national assignment – the biennial African Women’s Championship. Before that, she had immersed herself in tough physical and mental preparations for the female version of the African Cup of Nations.
Onosky – as she is popularly known by in Bunibuni, a fast-growing internet community of diasporan Africans and friends of Africa – has one charming trait that always struck me. It is her general humility and quiet resilience. Each time we spoke as the days got closer for her departure to Nigeria, I couldn’t help but notice her unwavering patriotism, her sense of devotion to both club and country, and the ease with which she dealt with what must have been a very physically, mentally and emotionally challenging time.
Then she traveled. I contacted her briefly when she went back home and when she was getting ready, with the rest of Nigeria’s Super Falcons, for the flight to South Africa. I made the conscious effort not to call her during the tournament so as not to to become an unwanted source of distraction. I wanted her to sink all her energy and dedication, along with the rest of Super Falcons, into reclaiming the top prize. And, I am glad, to discover, as I was reading today’s headlines, that my bet paid off.
They have demonstrated superlative football dominance in Africa. As a matter of fact, if the Nigerian male national team, the Super Eagles, were half as dominating as the Super Falcons are in these biennial African tournaments, I am sure that would be a great source of pride for Nigerians. To put it in proper perspective: the recently concluded female African cup of Nations is the 7th edition of that tournament – and the Super Falcons have carried the gold in 6 of those 7 tournaments. The 2008 winners Equatorial Guinea defeated the Falcons to win the gold. So, as you can tell, it was sweet revenge for the Falcons when they met with and beat Equatorial Guinea 4-2 in a most exciting finale.
Sadly, not too many Africans in the diapora knew that this tournament was going on; an even smaller number got to see any of the matches. I searched really hard and could not find anywhere on the air or on the web to see any of the matches. Nevertheless, my well-wishes were with Onosky and the Super Falcons. And indeed, they have done the nation proud. I cannot wait to call her with my profuse gratitude.
Bravo Falcons – keep flying high, keep your dazzle!