As part of events which marked 2023 International Women’s Day, a non-governmental organisation, Fame Foundation, organised Women and Sports dialogue summit.
While declaring the event open, convener and Fame Foundation Executive Director, Aderonke Ogunleye-Bello, said aside creating ambience for rich discussions on how to develop Nigeria women sports especially in the area of ensuring equality, the summit was also held to sensitise as well as mentor young ones.
Naija Ratels owner Barr. Paul Edeh
She said, “As a founder, we are always passionate about the girl-child, using sports as a veritable tool of empowerment. This is the second open programme we are having in the International Women’s month.”
The theme of the summit is “Developing a viable commercial and impactful blueprint for women football development”.
Keynote speaker and former Director-General of National Sports Commission (NSC) Mallam Alhassan Yakmut, advocated an improved commercialisation and visibility strategy for the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL).
Mallam Yakmut further said the current composition and operations of NWFL can’t guarantee viable League system except calcuted and deliberate efforts are put in place.
Though, the Chief Operating Officer of NWFL Mrs Dupe Shabi highlighted the challenges facing women football in Nigeria especially in the area of sponsorship and schedule of marches, Mallam Yakmut, a former League secretary insisted that the country’s football body alongside various league management should team up and find lasting solutions to issues bedeveling Nigeria football.
He particularly tasked NWFL to place more priority on media planning and other professional engagements in a bid to ease burden and achieve desired result.
“It is not that the league is so bad, but the commercial value is lacking. If South Africa and Morocco can over the years sit down, plan and they are now achieving good results, why not Nigeria?
“One major area we need to explore is improved commercialisation strategy to empower Nigerian women football, that way you empower the girl-child.
“To achieve this, we must concentrate on gaining more media attention, securing sponsorship, and extensive interaction with fans. The fan base can be expanded by increasing women football profitability and giving players greater opportunities as well as highlighting their talents. It is crucial that we keep working to give women in sports an even playing field and give them the same chances and recognition as their male counterparts,” he said.
On his part, a panelist and proprietor of Naija Ratels FC, Barr. Paul Edeh, said women football can best thrive if men join in creating an enabling environment.
Charge De Affaires, Australian High Commission, Madam Leonn Johnson, who was present at the event, spoke on the import of women empowerment in every society.
Head of UNOCHA Choice Ufuoma Okoro, Olympian and a senior special assistant to Minister of Youth and Sports development Amb. Mary Onyali and Chairperson Federation of International Women Lawyers FCT branch Dr. Victoria Nlemigbo were among the panelists who enumerated the gains of enhanced women football development.