Former NFF Board Member, Hon. Ayo Omidiran, Director of Federations and Elite Athletes department of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mrs Hauwa Kulu-Akinyemi and CAF Match Commissioner Aisha Falode on Tuesday challenged Nigeria women football players to take education as serious as they take the game of football.
The eminent persons spoke at a technical session for players of the Super Falcons, Falconets, NWFL club Nasarawa Amazons and some secondary school girls at the second FIFA Female Leadership Development Programme organized by the Nigeria Football Federation.
NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, charged the women football players to see a role model in the incumbent Head Coach of the Super Falcons, Florence Omagbemi, who captained the Super Falcons for several years and won many laurels, and is today a member of the FIFA Technical Study Group.
Omidiran, who funded top club, Omidiran Babes for more than 10 years and is currently a ranking Member of the House of Representatives, told the women players present that education is a lifetime endeavor, and that only education could assure them of a comfortable life after they must have stopped playing the game.
Kulu-Akinyemi insisted that “football, like every other sport, has the shortest active years and longest retirement period,” as “an athlete begins to perform at elite level from age 17 and by age 35 on the average, his/her professional career is almost over” as a result of injuries, age, marriage and competition from younger athletes.
Falode, leading women’s football promoter and Member of the CAF Media Committee, painted a graphic picture of why women players must have education, citing the examples of Omagbemi, Mercy Akide-Udoh, Abby Wambach, Courtney Dike, Mia Hamm and Eniola Aluko among others.
Chairman of the occasion, NFF 2nd Vice President/LMC Chairman, Mr. Shehu Dikko charged the women players present to take home the underlying fact that there is never a time that education cannot be pursued, as long as the determination is there.