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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

FIFA website celebrates Nigeria’s Aisha Falode

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  • Aisha Falode is the immediate pastPresident of the Nigeria Women Football League
  • A former journalist, she is passionate about women’s rights in Africa
  • Also participated in the Women in Football Leadership Programme

 

 

Mercy Akide, Perpetua Nkwocha and Asisat Oshoala are just some of the names writ large in the annals of Nigerian women’s football. Thanks to their dribbling, goals and passes, these legends have helped make Nigeria a force in the women’s game.

And while Aisha Falode is no Super Falcon nor anything like as talented with the ball at her feet, what she has brought to African sport in general and Nigerian football in particular, in terms of ideas, philosophy and inspiration, has been no less valuable.

Beyond her extensive career as a journalist, during which she covered several FIFA World Cups™, the current President of the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) has also emerged as one of the most ardent defenders of women’s rights on the Mother Continent.

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Understandably, she figured prominently among the 36 participants at the fourth edition of the Women in Football Leadership Programme in Lausanne in March.

“The programme has had a considerable impact on me, because of what I learned – the activities and meetings I was able to take part in, as well as the ideas that have been shared,” she tells FIFA.com. “It’s been both exciting and eye-opening.

Many subjects were addressed in a short time span. Nonetheless, that time was precious considering the experience and knowledge that we were all able to take back to our respective countries.”

Organised annually, this seminar is a learning platform for women leaders in the game who wish to further their education, expand their knowledge and develop a coherent network to promote the integration of women in the world of football.

Nominated by their respective member associations, participants come from all six confederations and hold leadership positions as diverse as general secretary, executive committee member, director or president, a position held by Aisha Falode in the NWFL Premiership.

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“I learned a lot from this seminar. It reminded me how each team member has something to contribute to the overall development of a group, as well as the fundamental importance of listening,” she says.     “Everyone has their own character, but it’s the sum and combination of all the individual personalities that makes collective work easier and more productive. And it is through everyone adding their own contribution that we feel valued and appreciated. So just participate!”

And the 36 women gathered in Lausanne certainly did that. During an intensive week, they exchanged knowledge, discussed topics and debated in a constructive and enthusiastic atmosphere.     “The content of the course gave us no choice but to do so, and that’s a good thing,” Falode adds. “We had team exercises to do, so we had to lean on each other to accomplish those.

“We had to build relationships, share information and trust each other. We left Lausanne feeling like we’d known each other for ten years!”

No stranger to challenges

“We all have diverse points of view on certain topics. But while differences in perspective exist, there’s always common ground as well and an opportunity for learning and education,” Falode continues.     “It’s important to be able to tap into each other’s strengths and very reassuring to know we can count on the support of a group of women who struggle with or share the same challenges as us.”

Indeed, challenges are something Falode has had plenty of in her career.

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In a country where women’s liberation has been slower than in many others, there have been many challenges and obstacles along the way.

“As a woman, I certainly had to work harder to get even half of what men have on a silver platter,” she insists. “That struggle continues to this day for me, and I have unfortunately discovered through this programme that many of us are in the same situation.”

This fight is nothing new and, while some battles have been won, there is still so much to be done, as evidenced by the latest staging this Women in Football Leadership Programme. “We must never give up,” insists the Nigerian.

“The resilience I’ve shown is probably what I’m most proud of in my career. You have to assert yourself and be really good at what you do.

“I’m convinced that, in the world of business nowadays, it is impossible to lead without the involvement of women. Furthermore, and this is to be welcomed, the football world is the first to recognize this.”

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Aisha Falode is herself living proof of this, having been named President of NWFL Premiership in 2017.

In this role, she has expertly maintained the young league’s (created in 1990) high level of excellence and competitiveness, making it a model for the continent.

Nigeria’s standing as the best African team in the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking over the last 20 years owes much to the elevated level of its domestic league, where many of its internationals play.

Clubs such as River Angels, the former home of current Barcelona star Asisat Oshoala, and Bayelsa Queens, who finished third in the 2022 CAF Women’s Champions League, are standard bearers of the women’s game in Africa.

“Nigeria has been a pioneer in Africa for women’s football. It took a long time for other countries to understand that there’s real potential for women in the game,” she says.

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“The fact remains that our league hasn’t been professional for very long.

“Conscious that there was a cohort of young girls who were interested in the game, we developed a strategy that would involve all of them in the practice of football. This has been the main focus of my mission.”

“We still have work to do, but we’ve made a lot of progress and I’m delighted that football has become more accessible to our young girls,” she concludes, just days before the start of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™, during which Nigeria, thanks to its incredible talent pool, looks destined to shine.

-Fifa.com

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Colombia 2024: Danjuma invites 32 as countdown begins to Final Tournament

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Flying Eagles, Falconets To Resume Camp On Thursday -

With just eight weeks to their first match of the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup Colombia 2024, Head Coach Chris Musa Danjuma has called up four goalkeepers, eight defenders, eight midfielders and 12 strikers to a training camp in the Federal Capital, Abuja in the first phase of preparation for the global tournament.

Team captain Oluchi Ohaegbulem is top of the list, with first-choice goalkeeper Faith Omilana, defenders Shukurat Oladipo and Comfort Folorunsho, midfielders Chinyere Kalu, Adoo Yina and Rofiat Imuran, and forwards Janet Akekoromowei, Flourish Sabastine and Aminat Bello also called.

Nigeria, a fixture at the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup finals since the tournament began as an U19 event in Canada 22 years ago, will contend with three-time winners Germany, Asian powerhouse Korea Republic and South American representatives Venezuela in group D of the competition scheduled for three Colombian cities, 31st August – 22nd September.

All the invited are expected at Serob Legacy Hotel, Wuye, Abuja on Sunday, 7th July.

ALL THE INVITED PLAYERS:

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Goalkeepers: Anderline Mgbechi (Delta Queens); Rachael Unachukwu (Nasarawa Amazons); Faith Omilana (Naija Ratels); Shukura Bakare (Nasarawa Amazons)

Defenders: Oluchi Ohaegbulem (Nasarawa Amazons); Jumoke Alani (Nasarawa Amazons); Shukurat Oladipo (FC Robo Queens); Oluwabunmi Oladeji (Naija Ratels); Folashade Adegbemile (Delta Queens); Chidera Okenwa (Delta Queens); Comfort Folorunsho (Edo Queens); Taiwo Lawal

Midfielders: Adoo Yina (Nasarawa Amazons); Olushola Shobowale (Nasarawa Amazons); Aminat Folorunsho (Rivers Angels); Chioma Olise (Edo Queens); Chinyere Kalu (Nasarawa Amazons); Joy Igbokwe (Naija Ratels); Rofiat Imuran (Stade de Reims, France); Zikora Agama (Naija Ratels)

Forwards: Delight Nwosu (Dannaz Ladies); Adaobi Okah (Remo Stars Ladies); Chiamaka Okwuchukwu (Rivers Angels); Chinaza Agoh (Delta Queens); Mary Nkpa (Heartland Queens); Chiamaka Osigwe (Edo Queens); Janet Akekoromowei (Asisat Academy); Mary Offor (Adamawa Queens); Flourish Sabastine (Stade de Reims, France); Sharon Ulumma (Heartland Queens); Aminat Bello (Otero College, USA); Reilly Adebowale (Bohemian FC, Republic of Ireland)   

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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Nigeria’s Flamingos drawn against debuting hosts in FIFA U-17 World Cup

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The Flamingos, Nigeria’s U-17 women’s football team have been drawn against hosts, Dominican Republic for the finals of the Women’s U-17 World Cup holding from 16 October to 3 November in two host cities of Santo Domingo  and Santiago de los Caballeros.

 Both Nigeria and Dominican Republic are drawn in Group A along with Ecuador and New Zealand.  In Group B are Spain, USA, Korea Republic and Colombia.

Group C has  Korea DPR, Mexico, Kenya and England while those competing in Group D are  Japan , Poland, Brazil and Zambia.

The hosts will make their debut in the competition on 16 October against Ecuador in Santiago de los Caballeros, with New Zealand and Nigeria completing Group A.

Herrera, the first Dominican woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, had a special message for her compatriots taking part in the World Cup. She said: “I am the living example that you can achieve your dreams. So, keep up the good work. I am looking forward to seeing those amazing games.”

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Reigning champions Spain, meanwhile, will kick off their campaign in Group B, in which they will face USA, Korea Republic and Colombia, runners-up last time around.

“The advice to all the players that will participate here is to be confident and go live your dream. ¡Y Buena suerte!” said Flores, who took part in this tournament two years ago in India.

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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Dominican Republic 2024:Flamingos land in the Dominican Republic!

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Nigeria’s U17 girls, Flamingos, have secured their ticket to the 8th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals to be staged in the Dominican Republic later this year, after a 2-0 defeat of their Liberian counterparts at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Friday.

Victory took the aggregate tally to 6-1 in favour of Nigeria, with extraordinary poacher Harmony Chidi setting a record of 13 goals in a qualifying series that will be difficult to equal in years to come. She had 11 goals before kick-off, but netted the two goals of the evening to take Nigeria’s total of the series to a whopping 25. Central African Republic fell by a dozen goals while Burkina Faso fell 1-7 on aggregate.

Her first came after only four minutes when she sped past the Liberian defence to toe-poke the ball beyond the flailing arms of goalkeeper Makula Konneh from a cross by Shakirat Moshood.

A goal feast was expected, but this did not happen, as Peace Effiong had a close call in the 17th and Moshood rocked the crossbar a minute after from 20 yards. Moshood also missed from close range with 10 minutes left of the first half.

In the 56th minute, Moshood blasted beyond the goalpost when faced with Konneh, but Harmony Chidi made sure of her brace seven minutes later when she lashed the ball beyond Konneh’s reach as Nigeria seized the ball from a defensive slip-up by the visitors.

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The 8th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals will be staged in the cities of Santiago de los Caballeros and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, 16th October – 3rd November.

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