By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde
Sports Writer, kick442.com Nigeria
The Chairperson of Nigeria Women’s Football League, NWFL, and a member of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF Board, Aisha Falode has said the CAF Women’s Champions League will make the NWFL to be more competitive as a lot will be at stake for clubs, www.kick442.com can report.
She said this during a monitored radio interview on Sports Radio, Brila FM.
“The value of the competition is that our Clubs will now be more competitive. We will start thinking of how we can work with the NFF to give us a full season instead of our abridged season. You don’t want to go to the continent and make a fool of yourself. We have to play a full season to be ready for good football. We must begin to look at how we can attract more audience and spectators to the field. We must begin to have that look and feel of the ambiance of football that is befitting to the eyes plus enjoyable for the fans to enjoy. We must begin to think and talk to our Clubs now. There are Clubs that are not properly funded. If we have only ten properly funded Clubs, it is good. We can’t continue to have clubs that do not have the proper structure to sustain the wages and welfare of their players. These are issues that we must come to the round table and discuss very frankly.” She told Godwin Enakhena of Global Sports.
“It’s been on the pipeline for a long time, and we have agitated for it. We have looked forward to it especially in Nigeria as pioneers of the game. A lot of people didn’t think that a Champions League for women was ideal for Africa. They gave us all sorts of excuses. They told us that we didn’t have too many countries playing organized league on the continent. I want to say, and put it on record that if you have about 33 countries playing the professional leagues all across Africa, how many numbers do you need to start the CAF Champions League for women? We have over 33 countries with a domestic league in Africa.
Falode took the opportunity of the interview to thank CAF for the initiative, most especially members of CAF Women’s Department for a job well done. Convincing CAF Executive Committee to be able to come up with the CAF Women’s Champions League is wonderful.
“We are where to are Today, thanks to the Executive Committee of CAF. Thanks to those young women and men who are in the CAF Women’s Department, who have put together this ideas and able to convince the Executive Committee. It is truly the time for Africa not only to be reactive to what is happening globally with football, especially for women. We must also be seen to take the initiative to blaze the trail sometimes, and for other continents to begin to copy us.
“Women’s Champions League is here. Now is the time to build a strong team because as pioneers of the game in Africa, it would not be heard of that the first Champions League in Africa that Nigeria didn’t win it for women. That is the next stage, and what we must work towards.
The astute administrator also frowns at those giving excuses that the time is not right for Africa to have a Women’s Champions League as she looks forward to CAF planning towards a successful competition in 2021.
“A journey of a thousand miles starts with just one step. Now CAF has decided there is going to be a Champions League for women in Africa come 2021. Now is the time for CAF also to think of the methodology of making sure that the kick-off of that Champions League is smooth. It is time for CAF to think about the strategy. In truth, it is very expensive for teams to travel and for clubs to fund themselves for international matches. If you cannot do that, start with a zonal competition. Let the zones play one another like you have conferences in football. This will make the cost of traveling to be minimal. Get all the zonal champions, put them in a location for over one week or a week and a half or two and let them play the Champion of Champions. Then you have your winner.
“For any competition that is new, there must be some take-off grant. CAF has to put that in place and be more supportive and be sure that we will not have as many games as the men, but we will play the games that will give us good football and will engage our girls. We will have games that other continents will begin to talk about around the world just as we talked about the Women’s UEFA Champions League. Asia has theirs now, so Africa cannot be caught napping. We must develop the game in Africa. This is the greatest motivation you can give to any Club. We have games in countries across Africa. After the games, the girls go back home. Some of us don’t have the money to have a fixed calendar and schedule for the Women’s game in Africa. With the CAF Champions League, there will be a deadline. There will be greater incentive to invest giving they play for prize money. The travel opportunity provides a chance to seeing other cultures, and experience other experiences Africa. Football is not just about kicking the ball on the field. It’s also about making friends and education. This will open the girls to continental and global opportunities.” She concluded.
In an exclusive interview with www.kick442.com on Sunday, Aisha Falode had applauded CAF for the proposed Women’s Champions League.
www.kick442.com in the course of this week also reported that CAF Women’s Champions League will kick off from 2021 after CAF Executive Committee endorsed the competition.
The Women’s Champions League endorsement is a realisation of the dreams of many Stakeholders of Women’s football who have been clamouring for the competition to see the light of the day.
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