Gender Equality in Nigerian Football

Gender Equality in Nigerian Football

A contribution to GENDER KICKS 2011 by the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation Nigeria. The PDF document provided on this page is a Workshop Report/Communique.

by Aisha Falode 

March 25, 2011

Introduction
This paper is divided into subheads and categories and looks at inequalities and discriminations with regard to competition, marketing, remuneration, development grants, coaching, allowances, sign-on fees etc. It concludes with compelling success stories in the women’s game as good reasons for an inevitable revamp in the game. As a preamble, when the game is described as beautiful, the future is seen as feminine and for those who know the link between beauty and feminism, one would not be wrong, if one concludes that football is a woman.

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1. Competition
Whereas the flagship for both the men and the women competition is the league, the men’s league has been given its autonomy thereby enjoying the full benefit/complement of sponsorship, marketing and advertising. As we speak, sponsors are in court to decide who the title sponsors of the NPL become; the women’s league does not even enjoy a stable and consistent fixture or calendar.

In the 2010 season of the women Pro-League, 9 games were played out of 9 but the Super 6 to determine the champions of the league was not played and the season ended without a champion/winner. Out of the 20 teams in the women pro-league, 16 are owned by govt. and 4 by individuals but both struggle to meet financial obligation to the clubs which brings me to:

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2. Marketing / Advertising /Sponsorship
The writer disagrees with the view of the marketing department of FA that Women’s Football and Beach Football are the two competitions that are impossible to market. 

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3. Reward / Remuneration / Allowances
Whereas the Super Falcons have won every edition but one of the African women Championship (AWC) titles, there has not been a matching reward for performance. When the Super Eagles won the Nations Cup in 1994 a national holiday was declared, houses and cars were given to players and officials. In Tunisia again in 2004 the Eagles bronze became “golden” Yet the Falcons are perennial African Women Champions (AWC), there has been no corresponding reward. Even the pledge made by Mr. President after the last win still remains unfulfilled.

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4. Development Grants
In every department of the game in Nigeria the women have been subjected to marginalization and a glaring gap of inequality even in game that preaches fair-play. For the annual development grant given to each Federation/Association by FIFA 10% is specifically directed by FIFA to be used for the development of the women game. How that 10% is used we do not know.

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5. Coaching
 Twenty club coaches in the women pro-league are men. Not one woman.

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6. Coaches salary/ Siasia Vs Eucharia
Only recently a woman was appointed the coach of the Super Falcons with no job security. There have been speculations a number of times that Eucharia Uche may not even take the Super Falcons to Germany for the World Cup.
Coach Samson Siasia is on a monthly salary of 5million naira Austin Eguavoen, the Olympic team coach earns 2 million monthly whereas another coach superior in terms of grading; Eucharia Uche was started on monthly salary of 500,000 naira but was recently upgraded to 1 million naira monthly.
This is on paper, she has not been paid for two years and we are all keeping quiet. If it were Siasia or Eguavoen, we will scream.

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7. Players Allowance/Bonuses/Remuneration
 Super Eagles
The start off point for a winning bonus is $5,000 each, a thousand five hundred dollars or two thousand dollars is added for every win.
Sometimes the graduation is jettisoned.
In the Angola Nations Cup the start off was 10,000 dollars and the players were promised 50,000 dollars each if they won the Cup.
The Super Eagles were even paid a winning bonus in South Africa in a match against Argentina even when they lost the match.

Now compare this to Super Falcons. The base for winning bonus is one thousand Dollars each and graduation of Five hundred dollars for every win.

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8. Sign on fees
 Breakdown for the Nigeria Premier League:
Coaches get 10milliom as sign on fees and are paid Four hundred thousand naira as salary for the highest paid while the highest paid player is signed for 5.5million and 100 thousand Naira as base salary. Although these figures are not statutory but there is a deliberate effort to set a bench mark.
In the women’s Pro-League the sign on fee is fifty thousand naira! And the salary for the big earners in the government owned clubs is pegged at 25,000 naira while the private club owners pay an irregular salary of between 7,500 – 15,000 monthly salaries. Most of the clubs owe players between 2-4yrs in salary. There is even a case of a private women club owner who changes all his players every year without paying a kobo as salary.

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9. Friendlies
Before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa the Super Eagles went on several training tours, played friendly games even in an empty stadium against Colombia in England.
Lately the team went on a botched friendly in the USA without kicking a ball
It is 3 months to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany; the super Falcons have hurriedly played one friendly match. We are not aware of the training programme or campsite yet we will be in Germany for the mundial, and we expect them to do wonders.

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10. Media
The media is guilty as charged. We have not done enough to push the equality of the women agenda in a game that the women have brought us joy and celebration in achievement both individually and as a team.
In the last AWC, the Super Falcons not only won the title, Perpetual Nkwocha was highest goal scorer with 11 goals, Stella Mbachu was voted best player and Precious Dede Best goalkeeper.
The media has not done enough to celebrate the women achievement, we can do more. The women game deserves it because they have worked hard to earn respect by these achievements.
It is only fair that the inequality gap in the game be bridged.

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Conclusion
As per the above stated arguments, the issue of quality or inequality becomes more pronounced given the fact that in the history of Nigerian Football, the women have been the most successful team of all.
Women’s Football in Nigeria is a success story.

  • Six times African AWC Champion
  • Been to every world cup in the senior team since 1991
  • Been to every U-20 world cup even got to the final in Germany in 2010
  • Been to every U-17 World Cup got to the quarter final at the last time

The compelling success story of the women’s game and its potentials cannot be matches with the opportunities given for the records in performance and this makes inequality in the game untenable.

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Aisha Falode
CAF Media Officer
Africa Independent Television (AIT) Channel Manager, Sports

 

 

GENDER KICKS 2011

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