A League Without Sponsor


There is no doubt that Nigeria is a force to reckon with owing to their immense contribution to the development of female football in Africa.

The performance of Nigeria at FIFA organised football competition shows that  the country has abundant  talents but unfortunately the Nigerian Female League is yet to get sponsor  since 1991  that the country too k part in her first ever FIFA Women World Cup held in China.

In the past, players from Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, DR Congo and Equatorial Guinea featured for various clubs in Nigeria but today many of them have since left because  the League has been running without any sponsor, Banyana Banyana celebrated 20 years of participation in international female football.

In two decades, the team has achieved several milestones including, qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games, finishing as runners up at the African Women’s Championship three times and being the first South African national football team to beat Nigeria in an international game.

The South African Female League has secured a sponsorship deal with Sasol.Dumisani Mbokane; Sponsorship Specialist at Sasol said his company is pleased to identify with Bayana Bayana and South African women football.

“As an organisation we are proud to be associated with the positive developments in South African women’s football. This support for women is part of our endorsement of the government policy on gender equity and women empowerment. We are pleased with the team’s progress in the last four years of our partnership and we trust that women’s football will grow in leaps and bounds,” he said.

If the South Africa Women League can get sponsor, Nigeria with her football pedigree on the continent and the world should be able to secure a sponsorship deal with an organisation so that Nigeria female football will attract foreign players, spectatorship and television rights like what is obtainable in other well organised league.

The failure to secure a sponsorship deal is gradually affecting the performance of the senior national team. Super Falcons were bundled out by South Africa in the semi-final of the last Africa Women Championship held in Equatorial Guinea.

Cameroon also denied Nigeria a place at the London 2012 Olympic Games female football event. Presently, Nigeria Football Federation NFF is yet to appoint new coach for the senior national team after Kadiri Ikhana was sacked for his poor performance at the last Africa Women Championship.

Stakeholders who spoke to P.M.NEWS Sports said lack of sponsorship in the league will draw the country back. Some of them said Nigeria female football is static and if care is not taken the six time Africa Champions will begin to lose her position on the Africa continent. Paul Hamilton, former Super Falcons’ Head Coach said that the stability of the league had a direct relationship with the results of the female national teams in international tournaments.

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The coach, who decried the slow pace of development in female football in Nigeria attributed it to lack of sponsorship, however, commended the players for their performance in in  to    ternational tournaments in 2012

Hamilton noted that the inability of some league matches to hold, as at when due, was due to the failure of some teams to show up, stressing that they lacked sponsors.

“In short, I praise the girls who play the women’s league because I do not know the source of their strength. At the moment they do not have sponsors. Their appearance at international matches itself is worth celebrating because the league has not received the needed support,” he said.

In her own remark, the Nigeria Women League Board, led by Chief Dilichukwu Onyedinma, has called on all stakeholders of women football in the country to come together as a united front to save the game in the country.

She made clarion call last month in Abuja at the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, FCT chapter’s monthly sports forum.

Onyedinma noted that the major problem facing the women football league is that of inadequate funding by way of sponsorship. She also assured corporate sponsors who embrace the Women League in the country of adequate mileage.

“The Women Football League is one that needs to be nurtured and developed because it remains the pool where materials are selected for the National Women Teams in the country.

“Also, it provides job opportunities for thousands of youths and helps to keep our young ladies off the street and away from social vices.But it’s sad that despite the success which the Nigeria Women National Teams have achieved through the women league, we still don’t have corporate sponsors.” She said.

—Sunday Akintoye

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