• Wednesday, April 17, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Excitement trails Ebi’s mega-money return to Nigerian Women’s league

businessday-icon

The return of  Onome Ebi, former Super Falcons defender and captain to the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) has been making positive headlines in the Nigerian sports space.

The 40–year–old veteran defender is one of the oldest women to have featured at the FIFA Women’s World Cup recently signed with NWFL side Naija Ratels with a whopping monthly salary of N1.5m.

The club also gifted the former Bayelsa Queens defender a plot of land in Life Camp, a highbrow area in the city of Abuja.

The high-flying centre defender is also one of the few women and the only player from the African continent to have played in six finals, alongside Brazil’s Marta and Canada’s Christine Sinclair.

Speaking about her return to the NWFL, Ebi who has four African Women’s Championship honours to her name said making a switch to the Nigerian league is to motivate young and inspiring female players to believe in their dreams.

“My joining Naija Ratels is beyond playing football. It’s about inspiring young upcoming female players from the grassroots to think and believe that if they dare like I did, they can make history like I did in a climate where in most cases a woman has to work twice as much as a man would to achieve success, ” Ebi said on her official Instagram account.

“I strongly think my story won’t be complete if I don’t accomplish the goal of giving back to the Nigerian league, which nurtured me to stardom. It was not an easy decision for me because I had a lot of juicy offers, but I believe Nigeria needs me right now.

Read also NFF under fire as Super Falcons players speak out on financial woes

“When I was much younger, I never had the opportunity to see or train with great legends like Florence Omagbemi and others who were my idols back then. Today, I’m a legend, making it in life as a footballer in one of the most difficult climates. Any girl could possibly hope to ply a trade like football. I believe my joining Naija Ratels FC, with very young sets of players, is the best way to share my story of success and inspire female youngsters across Nigeria and Africa.

“I believe if I retire now like a lot of critics have suggested, without first impacting the Nigeria Women’s Football ecosystem, I would have failed a nation that gave me an opportunity to become a legend and through which I made history. My goal is to continue to promote women’s football at all levels and inspire grassroots female players to aspire to be better than me and my colleagues. With Naija Ratels FC, I’ll continue to shine the light as a source of encouragement and beacon of hope to other players.”

Naija Ratels FC Chairman, Mrs. Alisson James-Jegede, also eulogised the veteran defender for accepting to return home to see how she can give back to society.

“To me, it’s like a fulfilled dream. She is here not just to play for the club after rejecting other juicy offers but to offer whatever she can as a player to support the younger ones and join in their building process.”

Commenting on the signing of the legendary Nigerian defender, the president of Ratels Sports Development Foundation (NSDF), Barrister Paul Edeh, said the offer was in line with the Foundation’s resolve to continuously lift the status of Women’s football in Nigeria.

“I’m particularly elated today because what Onome brings to the club is beyond just playing football. His presence will also motivate other players of the club to bring out their best and aspire to be the best, play for Super Falcons and so on,” he said.