We want to surprise the world, Precious Dede tells FIFA

‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ has become something of a mantra in women’s football. And amid this ever-growing appreciation of the importance of visible role models, India’s aspiring female goalkeepers find themselves in an enviable position.

After all, in every training session ahead of this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, these youngsters are being guided by one of their position’s all-time greats. They all know that, when Precious Dede speaks, each word reflects the lessons of a career spent amid the elite.

“The girls know what I’ve done and they look up to me a lot,” Dede told FIFA.com. “I can see them paying really close attention when I work with them, and it helps that I can still step on the pitch and show them how certain things should be done.

“The other day, one of the girls came up to me and asked, ‘Mum – they call me that – can I ever be like you?’ And I told her, ‘No, you won’t be like me – you will be better than me. That is why I am here: to get you to that level.’

“Even when I was still playing, I knew that I wanted to become a coach. And not just a coach – a goalkeeping coach. I get a lot of joy from seeing good goalkeeping, and from seeing young keepers develop.”

Dede’s playing career in numbers

  • 99 Nigeria caps
  • 4 FIFA Women’s Cups (2003, 2007, 2011 & 2015)
  • 3 Olympic Football Tournaments (2000, 2004 & 2008)
  • 2 CAF African Women’s Championship titles (2010 & 2014)

If eyebrows were raised at this latest chapter in Dede’s glittering career, it was not due to the nature of her role – but its location. Most observers had assumed that, as a Nigeria legend – and having taken her first steps in coaching with the country’s senior team and U-20s – she would continue grooming the Super Falcons of the future.

Instead, the 40-year-old opted to embrace a daunting challenge in an unfamiliar culture. As she explained: “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.

“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 the 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’.”

In other words, they can be it because they have seen it.

Also Read: Bengaluru, Southampton settle for a draw after a riveting encounter

Also Read: Manchester United FC teenagers humble FC Goa


We would love to hear your Feedback on your Football Counter experience


Show off your Indian and European football knowledge with the football fantasy game from Playerzpot. Download the App with our special Footballcounter referral code, start playing and win cash daily.

Download app here: Link or click on the image below

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for all the latest happenings in the world of Indian football.

Lemon Break Sports FC to conduct trials for MFA 1st Division campaign

Lemon Break Sports FC is conducting trials for its first division side that will be playing in the MFA league for the upcoming season. Lemon Break SC is one of…

Share

Kenkre FC to conduct trials for Senior Women’s Team

Mumbai-based Kenkre FC are slated to conduct trials for their Senior Women’s Football Team on the 9th of October at Neville Dsouza Ground, Bandra. Kenkre FC have long been regarded…

Share

NLWS FC to hold trials for MDFA 3rd division

NLWS FC, a club based out of Dadar that will be playing in the MDFA 3rd division for the 2021-22 season will be holding trials next Sunday (10th October) Mauli…

Share

Income Tax Football team to conduct trials for Elite Division Campaign

MDFA Elite Division side Income Tax Football team will be conducting trials for ‘Guest Players’ for its upcoming 2021-22 season. The team is now looking to rope in few ‘guest…

Share

Oscar SSE to conduct trials for U 14 and U 16 category in Mumbai

Mumbai based Oscar SSE will conduct trials for their youth teams on 2nd and 3rd October at Wings Sports Centre ground. Oscar SSE is a 2-star AIFF Accredited Academy plying…

Share

Footie First to conduct trials for MFA 2nd Division team

Footie first will be conducting trials for its first team which will play in the MFA 2nd Division 2021-22 season. While the club has definitely set standards by winning the…

Share

Companeroes SC to conduct trials for MDFA 1st Division Campaign

Mumbai based MDFA 1st division side Companeroes Sports Club will be conducting open trials for their upcoming 2021-22 season. Players interested in appearing for the trials must have prior experience…

Share

Madanpura FA, Sara FA to host trials for the upcoming MDFA season

Sara Football Academy and Madanpura FA to host trials for MDFA Super division & 2nd division and 3rd division respectively on the 30th August 2021. Sara FA will be hosting…

Share

Mumbai Ultras FC invites all aspiring footballers for a trial

Mumbai Ultras FC is organising their trials for the upcoming season. The Mumbai Ultras play in the MDFA Super Division. The team is focused on the holistic aspects such as…

Share

Oscar SSE to conduct trials for multiple age-groups in Mumbai

Mumbai based Oscar SSE will conduct trials for their youth teams on 17th April at the Karnatak Sports Association ground. Oscar SSE is a 2-star AIFF Accredited Academy plying their…

Share