With the 2016/17 Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) set to get underway this weekend, Independent Chairperson of the board, Aisha Falode has declared that the mandate given to her team by the Nigeria
Football Federation (NFF) is to ensure that the league has a face-lift, proper restructuring and befitting standard.
According to the member of CAF media committee, whose success story as
a sports journalist stems from her involvement in both sports and radio broadcasting, the plan involves ensuring restructuring and building a strong and capable human resource base at all levels of Nigerian women football.
“It’s our duty to look at the structure and see how women’s football in Nigeria gets the needed attention and affinity with the audience. Women’s football has what it takes to enjoy some feasibility with the
men’s game but it’s going to take a while. The point is that everyone believe we have done the same thing over and over again. It’s time to adopt a new approach when going forward. We need to look at a new strategy that we think would work. That’s basically what this new board is all about,” she said.
“The new NWFL board has been created to embark on a transformation mission. When we talk about women’s football in this country the focus is usually on the Super Falcons, Flamingoes and Falconets. In club football, the vast popularity of Rivers Angels, Pelican Stars, Nasarawa Amazons, Ibom Angels, Sunshine Queens and Delta Queens is obvious. There are over sixteen professional clubs in this country. The plan is to expose and make them feasible. In the past the league didn’t have a stable calendar and clubs weren’t obeying the laid down rules and regulation. The game is all about rules and regulations. No club will be punished for violations of rules and regulations governing the NWFL but sanctions will be applied to non compliance as contained in the appropriate sections of the Rules book. We will continue to dialogue with clubs and hope that they come through the
open door of our good intentions for the league for clarification on grey areas.”
The highly experienced administrator revealed plans to revamp the affairs of women’s football in Nigeria.
“That’s the brief that we were given by the NFF. The board brought out the structure, one that will be a 16-team league and clubs being divided into two groups. We looked at economic factor. Why are teams not respecting their fixtures even when they are playing at home? We want to look at the financial burdens of the teams and players’
welfare. All these cannot be possible if you are not financially independent.”
Is the new board a model just like the League Management Company?
Falode added: “It’s the same blue print. What the LMC has done with the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) is now working after so many years of hardwork. We are beginning to see the gains of the top flight for men’s game. We want to see how we can adopt the model of the NPFL to the NWFL and see what happens. Hopefully in the next two or three years we would have attained some stability in terms of passion, followership and financial gains.”
The participants for the Nigeria Women Premier League (NWPL) campaign are defending champions Rivers Angels, Bayelsa Queens, Heartland Queens, Sunshine Queens, Ibom Angels, Abia Angels and FC Robo Queens.
Others are Nasarawa Amazons, Osun Babes, Delta Queens, Confluence Queens, Adamawa Queens, Edo Queens, Pelican Stars and FC Saadatu Kolo Amazons.
The opening match of the 2016/17 campaign will be between Sunshine
Queens and Ibom Angels at the Akure Township Stadium on Saturday 25th March.