Dede: I Want To Help India Surprise The World
Former Super Falcons goalkeeper Precious Dede hopes to help India make a big impact at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
India will be hosting the biennial competition for the first time in November.
Dede, who was capped 99 times by Nigeria is coaching the India’s U-17 keepers ahead of the tournament.
“Lots of people asked me, ‘Why are you going to India? It’s not a football country.’ But I told them that I was coming here to prove a point because, with this U-17 World Cup, we are working towards a goal. And we want to surprise the world,”Dede told FIFA.com.
“It’s not all been easy, of course, because it’s a new environment for me and the culture and food are very different. But the Indian people are so warm and receptive, and the players – because they have the right attitude and willingness to learn – are developing very fast. Each one of them is a work in progress – but it’s clear the talent is there.”
The job has also presented the opportunity to reconnect with a coach, and man, for whom she has the utmost respect.
“It was a very nice surprise to get the call from Thomas [Dennerby] asking me to do this job,” she explained.
“The fact he picked me is a big compliment and it makes me very happy because to me, he is not just a coach or a boss or a mentor. He’s like a father. I have learnt so much from him on and off the field.”
The appointments of Dennerby and Dede – two heavyweights of the women’s game – reflect India’s ambitions for this U-17 Women’s World Cup, and for football’s wider development. For Dede, witnessing the vast potential of this colossal nation and the strides being taken across the world, the future seems extremely bright.
“Women’s football is developing very fast, and it’s great to see,” she said. “When I came through, it was very, very tough for a girl to start playing the game. There were so many barriers, particularly in certain parts of the world.
“But minds are opening now. Even in more ‘traditional’ countries, it’s becoming easier for girls to say to their parents, ‘I want to play football’. And I think players in my generation have helped pave the way for that. Unlike us, girls nowadays can now look around at women players who have achieved a lot and say, ‘I want to be like her’.”
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