Sports minister asks Nigeria women’s coach Thomas Dennerby to continue

Nigerian sports minister Sunday Dare has stepped in to try and persuade Swede Thomas Dennerby to continue as coach of the national women’s team.

It comes after the 60-year-old threatened to leave due to ongoing problems with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

Under Dennerby the Super Falcons reached the last 16 of this year’s World Cup after they won the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations last year.

The issues, which the NFF are yet to comment on, have led to Dennerby excusing himself from at least the next two Super Falcons games.

Nigeria are due to face Ivory Coast next month in a two-legged 2020 Olympic qualifier and Dare wants Dennerby to change his mind.

“I have personally stepped into the matter of Thomas Dennerby, the coach of Super Falcons. I received a brief this morning and will proceed to seek a quick resolution to ensure he continues to coach Nigeria’s female team,” Dare revealed on his official social media. 

“An hour ago I had a constructive conversation on the telephone with Super Falcons coach Dennerby in Sweden. I have also spoken with the NFF leadership. We are working to resolve the issues in the interest of football development.”

BBC Sport understands that Dennerby is now expected in the capital Abuja this weekend for a face-to-face meeting with the minister and his employers to discuss his future.

Appointed in January 2018 as a replacement for Florence Omagbemi, Dennerby led the side to a maiden regional (Wafu) title in May before guiding them at the World Cup.

The first foreign coach to both qualify for and lead Nigeria at the World Cup, his team’s run in France was the country’s best performance in two decades – after their quarterfinal finish in 1999.

Nine-time African champions Nigeria are aiming to return to the quadrennial event after missing out on the 2012 and 2016 Olympic tournaments.

In the absence of Dennerby, the NFF has already drafted in under-20 women’s coach Christopher Danjuma for the third round of the African qualifiers for the Tokyo Games.

The caretaker coach has already replaced Dennerby’s choice as captain, Desire Oparanozie, and handed the role to maiden BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year winner Asisat Oshoala.

Nigeria travel to Abidjan on 2 October for the first leg, before hosting their West African rivals in the reverse fixture in Lagos four days later.

Source BBC.com

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