Super Falcons forward, Asisat Oshoala, believes that great progress will be made in the next five years, if women football gets more investment at the grassroots, especially in Africa.
Oshoala was speaking at the FIFA Women’s Football and Leadership Conference in Switzerland, on the title ‘Equality Through Reform’.
The Arsenal Ladies player, featured longside 2012 Fifa Women’s World Player of the Year, Abby Wambach, Samar Nassar (Chief Executive Director of the Local Organising Committee for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016) and Brigitte Henriques (General Secretary of the French Football Association).
She appealed to FIFA, African leaders, football administrators and football legends, to help move women’s football forward.
“Football is creating a lot of opportunity for youths,” Oshoala said, stressing that ” football has helped us to meet people not just in Africa, Nigeria or the world [and] to make the world more fun.
“Religious beliefs in Africa, Nigeria to be precise, there are some parts that believe women are not expected to be involved in sports. There are also cultural beliefs that women are not supposed to . football becuase it could get them stressed out.
“There’s nothing you can tell these people, they will tell you that their kids are not going to . football. That football is for the men not women.
“We have poor facilities in Africa, talking about the pitches. We sometimes . on sandy and rocky pitches which matters.
“The grassroot is the future of football. That’s what I believe. It’s not about what you get now, but it’s about what you can give in now and get later.
“So we all need to invest in women’s football. If we can invest now, in the next five years we can celebrate the success. I think this more of the things you need to do.
“Sometimes I tell people that you don’t have to wait for your federation to do things, I organized an U17 women competition without the support of my federation. If 100 people can do that, I think we will achieve a lot more in five years.
“This is a different project for us (women). We can talk to Fifa about having women publications to showcase women football stars and game as well as attract sponsorship and encourage business.
“I’m here representing Africa, the moving forward of women football in Africa begins with me. I accept that as a responsiblity. Next when I’ll be here I will be glad that I said it here and it happened.
“I want to say to everyone to please do whatever you can do to help move women’s football forward. Please do it. I’m not going to wait any longer.
“Don’t worry about what’s going to happen now becuase the start may be difficult but I know in the future we will be happy at the end.”