It is five days to the commencement of the Nigeria Women Premier League Super Four championship and Chairperson of the Nigeria Women Football League board, Aisha Falode has disclosed how and why a least expected Benin City was picked to host the tournament.
Prior to the draw of the four-team event which was conducted in Lagos, the Centre of Excellence was being mooted as venue for the competition especially with the aim of tapping into the state’s economic resources.
In the end, however, the ancient city of Benin (capital of Edo State) was unveiled as host of the tournament which would produce the champions of the Nigeria Women Premier League for the 2016/17 season.
“Benin offered that they wanted to (host the Super Four),” Falode began in an interview with busybuddiesng.com. “We had approached Lagos, but because number one, Benin offered to and secondly, proximity to the four teams that qualified in terms of making the road trip to the venue of the competition (we settled for Benin).
“Three of the teams are from the South South; Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers – these are neighbours to Edo. So aside from the players coming from these towns, you also have the fans who will be travelling with the teams to come to Benin. Nasarawa is not so far away from Benin so you can see that Benin is actually very central in terms of proximity to all the clubs,” the CAF Media Committee member explained.
Considering the fact that the NWFL board are still in the hunt for sponsors for the league since their inauguration in January, many would agree that Lagos could have been the perfect venue to add commercial value to the NWPL Super Four Championship. But Falode believes that the venue would not determine how much interest potential sponsors would have in the tournament.
“Commercial value in this day of social media, of television, of radio, of newspapers, the news is wherever you make it to be. You can bring the sponsors to the venue even without the sponsors being present at the venue. It is a day and age of new media, of social media, regular media all these combined. The sponsors are aware of what we are doing,” Falode stated.
The NWPL Super Four Championship is scheduled for October 9-14. Bayelsa Queens, Rivers Angels (defending champions), Delta Queens and Nasarawa Amazons are the teams in the running for the league trophy and the improved prize money of three million naira promised by the Edo State Government.
The Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin recently hosted Nigeria’s U-20 Women’s National Team as they beat their Tanzanian counterparts 3-0 in a first leg, first round, FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup qualifier.