1st Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Seyi Akinwunmi says “a major sponsorship for women football in Nigeria” has been signed and will be announced, “in the next few weeks”.
Akinwunmi revealed this while responding to a question on Sports Zone on the Lagos based radio station Lagos Talks about what was being done to ensure that Nigeria remained the preeminent female football force across all age grades on the continent following the recent failure of the Under 17 team to qualify for the World Cup and the struggles of the Super Falcons in retaining their Cup of Nations trophy in Ghana.
Akinwunmi who also is the chairman of the Lagos Football Association pointed out that the gap between football playing nations was shrinking but that the NFF has put certain measures in place to ensure that Nigeria retains its competitive edge in women’s football on the continent.
“Football in the world is changing, these countries have access these days to coaches from all parts of the world once they can afford it,” he said.
“All of these countries have players abroad [the shrinking gap between football playing nations] is not peculiar to Nigeria we just got there first because we got many of our players are playing abroad.
“The Cameroon team we played [in the semifinal of the 2018 Women Cup of Nations in Ghana] had virtually all of their players playing abroad in the French league.
“The important thing is for us to keep on improving and getting new players and what are we doing in the next few weeks you would hear about a major sponsorship for women football in Nigeria and I think that would gladden a lot of people’s heart people who follow especially women’s football.
“It’s a major deal that’s coming up and we have done it, it is just for us to announce it.”
The 1st Vice President of the NFF also revealed that the Federation has perfected plans for a campaign aimed at persuading reluctant parents to allow their daughters get involved in football as a means of driving up female participation in the sport and ensuring a wider pool of talent for coaches to assess.
He also said there are ongoing conversations with a corporate sponsor centred on replicating a model that has proven successful for boys.
“We have a project that is coming up which is ‘Let the Girl Play Football’. It is really an enlightenment programme for parents especially in those states who do not allow their girls to play football because there’s talent in them too.
“Thirdly we have Zenith Future Super Eagles tournament, we have proposed [to] Zenith Bank [and they are] considering as we speak now, that they’ll also have Zenith Bank Future Super Falcons Tournament.”
Having announced two preparatory tournaments for the Super Falcons as they get set for the June 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, Akinwunmi says the NFF’s plan for the Falcons is to ensure that they get the same treatment as that accorded the Super Eagles in the lead up to the Men’s World Cup in Russia.
“The plan that we can have [for the Super Falcons] as a body has to be aligned with the Coach’s plan and then give him our suggestions. But as far as the ones that are in our hands, the preparations, the seeking out friendly matches and all of that we are on course so they are going to use every available window for a friendly match.
“We are going to ensure that their transportation and their accommodation is as smooth as we had with the Super Eagles going to the World Cup such that at the point in time when we get to the World Cup, all their focus on will be football and not any other distraction.”