Super Falcons Captain, Asisat Oshoala, is worried that despite the strides women football has made in recent times, Africans still do not accord the ladies the respect they deserve. The FC Barcelona Ladies top striker is particularly disturbed by the apathy those running the game in the continent display when it comes to women’s teams.
Speaking at the weekend, Oshoala faulted the outright cancellation of the 2020 African Women’s Cup of Nation’s by CAF, saying it was not the right direction “to take at this critical moment when women football is struggling to grow in the continent.” She said the decision further shows that women football is not regarded as an important aspect of life in Africa.
She argued that if it involved men or boys, the national federations would have risen against the cancellation.
“The news of the cancellation of the 2020 CAF Women’s Nations Cup was a shock to me because as a player, this is a tournament we all look forward to every two years. It would have been better if it was postponed and not totally cancelled. It is not fair on women footballers.
“If it were the men’s Nations Cup, the various football federations and the media would have been lamenting, making noise and mounting pressure on CAF to reverse the decision. But now that it is women football nobody is talking. Other women footballers in the continent are not delighted with the cancellation of the championship.”
She condemned the attitude of CAF and the other federations to women football, adding that poor funding has retarded the growth of women football in Africa.
“In 2016, Cameroun hosted the African Women Nations Cup and CAF was highly commended for a fantastic show. And now after four years, CAF was still contemplating in March if Nigeria or any other country would host the championship scheduled for November 2020.
“Notwithstanding the COVID-19 issue, this is not right. We are supposed to have gone beyond this level in Africa.
“At the FIFA level, the host of the next Women World Cup is already known. Women football in Africa needs help by the stakeholders showing more interest in the game,” she said.
Oshoala, however, expressed delight at the prospect of teams in the continent playing in the CAF Champions League, saying it would help in promoting the game across the continent.
“I thank CAF for this move, but I am not happy with the cancellation of the CAF Awards as it should be held visually by Zoom or any other online process. That would have saved CAF the cost of inviting people to a venue.
“I am not saying this for selfish reasons because I already have four awards. It is for the progress of the continent. This is the only award we look up to in Africa,” she added.
On the local scene, Oshoala said the Nigeria Football Federation should organise more quality friendly games for the Super Falcons to keep the team in shape.
“We, the players, have been discussing with the NFF to organise more games for us. Apart from the qualifiers, the team needs to meet often to make it easier for the players to blend well. This is why other teams in Europe are ahead of us. I believe after the sports lockdown, the NFF will look on it,” she said.