‘Some of us became bankrupt, divorced in bid to develop women’s football’
Former coach of the defunct Ufuoma Babes FC of Warri, Napoleon Aluma, has revealed that some male coaches were ‘forced’ to divorce their wives, while others became bankrupt in their bid to develop women’s football in Nigeria.
Aluma, who is the founder and president of Invincible Leopards Sports Club, expressed his anger over the failure by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to include some founding fathers of women’s football in the country at Monday’s award ceremony, which honoured Super Falcons of 1999 squad in Lagos.
“We all toiled day and night, under the rain, and sun in our bid to develop women’s football in Nigeria,” Aluma said. “Some of us were bankrupt, while some divorced their spouses because of women football. But today, those who could not buy ordinary whistle, not to talk of balls, jerseys are now claiming credit and recognition for women football. It is sad.”
Aluma added: “When I look back to 1986, and the period between 1988 to 1990, I feel so disappointed with the kind of treatment being given to us by Nigeria football officials.”
That is Nigeria for you, where everything is politics. What would it take to recognise people like Elder Eddinton Kuejubola, late Pa Inneh (founder of Inneh Queens FC), who spent their money and sold their property to bring women’s football to be what it is today. To recognise such people has become a difficult task for the NFF. But some of us have no regret for laying the foundation for women football in Nigeria. We are always proud and happy to be part of the struggle,” he stated.
According to him, some of the coaches were arrested, traumatised, humiliated and called all sorts of names for daring to develop women football in this part of the world. “I am talking of 30 years of women football in Nigeria, and none of the patriotic Nigerians are mentioned at the award night in Lagos. I feed so sad.
“I expected the NFF to use the occasion to give post humous awards to coaches like Fred Odile, Gaboski Idris, George Emenitie, Johnbull Emunutor, Francis Jename Temile and late Coach Sunny of Inneh Queens of Benin City. Coaches who are alive like Ismalia Mabo, Godwin Izilien, Santana Adewole, Rolandson Odeh, Dan Evumena, Peter Dedevbo and Alex Arror should also be recognised.”