Nigeria women football now going backward – Zira
A top sports stakeholder and former chairman of Adamawa Queens, Mr. Emmanuel Zira, has said that women football development in Nigeria has drastically dwindled in the past few years.
Mr. Zira who spoke in an interview from his base in Yola, Adamawa state capital said lack of professional approach, transparency and lacklustre attitude by the league administrators have under-developed Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) in particular and other aspects of the game.
Recently, NWFL chairperson and a board member of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Aisha Falode had claimed that women football has witnessed developmental changes.
But Zira while assessing the state of Nigeria women football in recent years said both its league and other areas have lost value and that those administering it have chosen to engage in “unnecessary media razzmatazz, without any substance on ground.”
“Without any form of sentiment, Nigeria women football has dwindled so much. I don’t really know why the administrators are just engaging in media hype which does no one any good.
“The entire stakeholders are watching and they know what is happening. Forget the media and publicity stunts here and there. Anyone can print banners, flyers and even stickers to say whatever he or she likes, but the reality is that the gains made in the administration of women football in the past has been destroyed.
“In any where in the World, football development thrives on accountability and openness. For instance, you can’t be running a league and not disclose your earnings or support in form of sponsorship or otherwise and you expect to grow and have integrity.
“Previously, the women league had financial and other records of its activities which the board renders at the end of every season, I still have copies, but such don’t happen again. Match officials’ indemnities are not paid by league administrators. As a league, everything you do must be subjected to congress scrutiny and decision. Nigeria is the only place especially in the past five years where the leagues are ran without financial statement. Even at the town union meetings, there’s financial statement… When you talk, they say you are against them, how?
“They announced sponsors and the details of the sponsorship are shrewded in secrecy. They only promised participating clubs during the just concluded Super six tournament which is part of the entire league process that they will get paltry amount, after forcing them to wear specific branded jerseys, where is that done, It’s wrong. Why sign a contract without disclosure,” he queried.
On grassroots development and current formation of senior women National team, Zira who is a former chairman of Adamawa United and has been involved steadily in women football affairs lamented the continuous recircling of age-players.
“The leagues are not growing, that is why we can’t tap into numerous budding talents, if not that the right things were done, where will we get Oshoala, Onome, Ordega and others that are aging,” he said.