The Chairperson of Nigeria Women’s Football League, NWFL, Aisha Falode has applauded the Confederation of African Football, CAF for their proposed Women’s CAF Champions League.
In an exclusive interview, Aisha Falode said that the CAF Women’s Champions League is a good initiative from CAF which has long been expected.
“This is a very bold move and initiative from CAF. It’s long been expected. People have advocated for it and desired it on the continent for the young women who continue to play good football all around Africa. When people say that we do not have the required number of teams to play the Women’s CAF Champions League.
” I wonder where they would get that notion from. As we speak, we have over 33 countries scattered across the continent where organized women’s football league is played. Even if we don’t have that required number, considering 33 out of 54/55 countries. That’s way above average for a good number to start the CAF Women’s Champions League.
” With over 33 operational women’s leagues in Africa, Falode opined that the time is ripe and right for Africa to have a women’s Champions League as she admonished CAF to come up with strategies that will support and fund teams that would participate in the competition.
“When we look back to when the African Women’s Championship, what we now today know as the African Women’s Cup of Nations when it started. Look at where we are today, from eight, we are thinking of expanding to 16 in the next edition. A journey of a thousand miles they say begins with a step.
” If we say we are not ready with 33 teams, I don’t know when we will ever be ready. Therefore, we must commend CAF for listening to those who have called for this to happen for a couple of years. If you want to play the CAF Women’s Champions League, you really must also come up with strategies to make it easier for funding both for the countries and for the teams that would participate. I think this would be the next stage for us to address.”
“The question of funding and support for the teams that would play in the Champions League and the model that is to be adopted for playing the league. Are you going to start from zones? When you have the zonal champions, would you then converge all the zonal champions to a location where they play for the trophy? These are all the modalities that CAF must now seat down with the Women’s Football Department of the Confederation to sort of brainstorm about to come up with the best and the easier and pocket-friendly funding for the teams that would participate in the competition.
” I look forward to it as the Chairperson of the Nigeria Women’s Football League, NWFL, the oldest league in Africa, and the pioneers of women’s football in Africa. I am excited about it and I think all the lovers, and stakeholders that really want women’s football to develop and grow and be among the best in the world should commend and applaud CAF for.”
With the attention of the Federation of International Football Association, FIFA now on women’s football with recent grants, Falode asserted that it will be laudable for CAF to capitalize on the current opportunities to work towards new competitions and initiatives for the development of women’s football in Africa.
“Africa should not be reactive to the direction and global growth of women’s football. We must also begin to think about how we can be proactive. In a year when you have women who are being given the opportunity to participate in the highest level of governance in world sports and football in particular. You can see that only recently the FIFA Council is beginning to think of how to give some kind of intervention for its Member Associations to grow the game in this uncertain time of COVID-19 pandemic.
Special consideration was given to women in addition to what was said to be given to the Member Associations. On top of what is being proposed to be given, you are going to have $500,000 as an additional grant specifically tailored towards the women’s game. With this, this is just the best time for CAF to not only key into the direction and the strategy and the global outlook because they are to chart for the women’s game now. They should also be among the leaders of such proposals regarding activation, leveraging, and initiating new projects and competitions for the game in our continent.”
Europe with the Union of European Football Association, UEFA, and Asia with the Asian Football Confederation, AFC now has its Women’s Champions League which is attracting players from different parts of the world, and giving exposure to players in those regions.
With FIFA also looking towards having the FIFA Women’s Club World Cup, the time is really right and ripe for Africa to have its Women’s Champions League to compete favorably with other continents as far as women’s football is concerned.
Madam Falode has won admiration across Nigeria, and beyond for her management style at the level of the NWFL. These days, the Women’s Championship in Nigeria is a reference to many if not all on the continent and beyond.