NWFL: Aisha Falode outlines plans to restructure women’s football in Nigeria

With the 2016/17 Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) set to get underway today, 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 veteran sports journalist, who is also a member of CAF’s media committee, the plan involves 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 can get 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 believes 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… 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.

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