Super Falcons midfielder, Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene, has described as a sad development the cancellation of the African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) by the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF).
Africa’s football governing body at a meeting on June 30 cancelled the AWCON. The confederation, however, introduced the Women Champions League, which would debut when football activities return on the continent.
CAF, like other continents, suspended football activities across Africa because of the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at the weekend, Okobi-Okeoghene said CAF’s stance has devalued African women players in the European leagues and denied them the respect they deserve.
“I felt really sad when I read in the news about the cancellations of the AWCON and the award and all that. The introduction of the Women’s Champions League next year is welcome, but they should also make the women national teams know that they are part of their priority.
“The reason they gave that there was no country to host the tournament because they can’t just put it on one country… are mere excuses. At least they should have got a platform or something ready for the girls. It will be two years time before we can have a major tournament again.
“After all, I read in the news where FIFA said women are part of their priority, I am still trying to figure out what is it about the men that are not in the women because we all play the same football. I do not know if the men’s football brings more money than the women’s football,” she said.
Okobi-Okeoghene said European players play regularly for their countries in major competitions a year in year out, adding, “In Europe, every year the girls there get good preparation before any big tournament by playing little competitions one week before the FIFA graded tournaments just for them to be together as a team.
“I think CAF should do something better than what they are doing right now. The African footballers on the continent are not many that we cannot have a good structure to get the girls going. CAF’s policy doesn’t help us as footballers in our clubs abroad because we are being devalued. They think we are not being valued to earn what we deserve.
“This is not something that I like and that is why I try to hold myself because I do not want a problem in my career. If I am going to end my career soon, I should end it in peace. And I have decided not to say anything about it. Even in the tweets of my national teammates and the Camerounian players, they all complained of the same thing at their various clubs abroad,” she stated.
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