African women’s football not ripe for Champions League, says Izilien
Former Super Falcons Coach, Godwin Izilien, is worried by the recent Confederation of African Football (CAF) announcement that it will start an inter-club competition for women, saying the standard of the ladies’ game across the continent does not support a project like that.
Izilien argued that CAF should look for ways of developing women club football in various parts of Africa, instead of talking about an inter-club competition.
The coach, who led e Nigeria to a victorious outing at the South Africa 2004 African Women Nations Cup, wondered why CAF would plan to organise a championship that will not lift the standard and image of women football.
He called on CAF and other stakeholders in African football to help the various football federations raise more funds to sustain women football.
“I am surprised that CAF wants to start the women version of CAF Champions League. At this level, CAF would have first looked for a way to help various African countries upgrade their women’s leagues. Before a competition at the level of CAF Champions League is organised, certain things should be put in place.
“To me, the idea of a women club championship is a mockery. Nigeria, which has been dominating women football over the years, doesn’t even have a solid women’s league.
“Countries that are growing in women football in Africa like Cameroun, send their ladies to Nigeria to take part in our league.
“So, you can see the level of football development even in West Africa,” he said.
According to Izilien, “Apart from Nigeria, Cameroun, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana that are trying to grow the women club football in Africa, the other countries in the continent are not doing so. From the North, East and Southern part of Africa there is nothing like an inter-club leagues.
“In one of the African championships I attended with the Falcons, the way some teams played showed they wasted funds to attend the competition. One of the countries I can remember was Ethiopia.
“From my own perspective, if CAF wants to organise a women’s Champions League to develop Africa club football and also showcase the talents in Africa, they should first help to set up the league structure. Anything short of that is making mockery of women’s football in Africa.”
On the cancellation of the Africa Women Nation’s Cup, Izilien said the move should not be seen by women footballers as bad decision because it was done for health reasons.
“I believe CAF wants to use this period to seek for more sponsors to restructure the championship.
“Nigeria’s women players should be patient because CAF will surely work out modalities soon on the way forward for the competition.”