• Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Why Nigeria should empower girl child through football – Beverley Onyejianya

Why Nigeria should empower girl child through football – Beverley Onyejianya

Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya, a regulatory, compliance and professional sport lawyer and Bukola Edem, founder of Kidsport Football Club, have advised governments at all levels to invest in female football because it could serve as a means of empowering the girl child.

They stated this during the opening ceremony of the U15 inter-school female football competition held at Meadowhall School Lekki.

Agbakoba-Onyejianya and Edem noted that with adequate investment in female football, and availability of scholarship and infrastructures, more girls can be gainfully employed through sport, giving them options in life.

Agbakoba-Onyejianya and Edem who are co-organiser of the competition noted sport can help to instill discipline in students, while helping them to learn how to work as a team.

They further stated that the lack of enough football competition for female students in secondary schools in Lagos State motivated them to organise the competition.

Speaking further, Agbakoba-Onyejianya added that the goal is to produce talents that will be groomed to represent Nigeria at different levels.

“We were encouraged to organize the competition; there are few football competitions for females in secondary schools in Lagos State.

“The more they come together to play together, their skills develop. We get more of that developmental level in secondary school, because if you think of it, the girls at the top today came from the grassroots.

“A lot of girls are not informed about female football. We have decided that this competition is going to be an annual event, teams would hear about this and get on board and it would also go national soon.

“Sport helps to instill discipline in the girls; they learn to work as a team. They just become well rounded members of society.

“Learning should not be all academic, sport is necessary.

“Government can make more finance available for sport professionals and build infrastructures to promote sport.

“We have a young population, a lot of these young men and women can be gainfully employed through sport, if there are scholarships available to encourage them to attend school and do sport, this takes them away from crime and other anti-social activities,” Agbakoba-Onyejianya said.

Also speaking, Ayodele Thomas, CEO, Toppro football Management said such competition was overdue in Lagos State, noting that the lack of enough football competition for secondary school girls in Nigeria had affected talent discovery.

Thomas advised governments at all levels to support efforts by private individuals to promote female football and sport in general.

He called for the establishment of more sporting infrastructures across the country to aid sporting activities and talent discovery.

According to Thomas, “This is a well thought of and well organized event. The reason for this is to promote the girl child; we don’t have a lot of this event promoting the girl child.

Read also: The impact of unionisation of app-based transport workers in Nigeria

“This Under 15 inter-school football competitions is one of those programs the government should encourage, sporting events. This kind of competition helps in social integration and encourages the girls to have options in life.

“Often we think academics is the only way to survive, but there are several areas of sport they can choose to go into and do well.

“So this kind of academic is also another way of looking for them to express themselves.

“There are other ways of living and there are other beneficial ways to survive, sport should also be encouraged at all levels.

“We need a lot of infrastructure; today we are using private school fields to play because we do not have public fields around.

“We need to encourage private investors to invest in sport by giving incentives to them”.

The competition which was organized by Lagos Tigers FC and Kidsport FC will be an annual event.

In the final of the football competition, Leadforte defeated Corona by 1 goal.