Women’s Football Rising: The Nigeria Women’s Football League’s Vision under Chairman Ms. Nkechi Obi

In the heart of Nigerian sports, a revolution is brewing, one that promises to elevate
women’s football to unprecedented heights. Spearheading this transformation is the Nigeria
Women Football League (NWFL), under the dynamic leadership of Chairman Ms. Nkechi Obi.
With a compelling vision and a 5-pronged execution strategy, NWFL is set to redefine
women’s football in Nigeria.

The NWFL, founded in 1990, is Nigeria’s premier women’s football league. It has played a
pivotal role in developing the talents of female footballers in Nigeria. Under the stewardship
of Ms. Obi, NWFL is poised to create a league that is not just competitive but also resonates
with fans and garners the attention it deserves.
The league recognizes the immense potential of women’s football in Nigeria. It’s not just
about the game; it’s about empowerment, gender equality, and nurturing a new generation
of female athletes. NWFL aims to harness this potential and propel women’s football into
the national spotlight.
In a decisive move, the newly appointed Board of the Nigeria Women Football League
(NWFL) has embraced FIFA’s women’s development strategy, setting in motion a series of
visionary objectives aimed at revolutionising women’s football in Nigeria.
A pivotal objective of this strategy is in enhancing competition, designed to elevate the
standard of play, ensuring that fans remain engaged and thrilled by the competitive spirit
exhibited on the field.
NWFL is resolutely committed to grassroots growth of the women’s game and expanding
the number of clubs, particularly in the States and local government areas. This drive aims
to cultivate a broader talent pool that taps into local potential, giving rise to the stars of

Participation is key, and the NWFL seeks to open the doors wider for players and personnel
to enter the women’s football ecosystem. By doing so, it aims to create a vibrant and
inclusive community.
Recognizing that growth is often a collective endeavour, the NWFL is actively forging
alliances and partnerships with like-minded organizations. These collaborations will be
instrumental in propelling the growth of women’s football.
The league’s commitment to the sport extends beyond the players and fans. It includes
engaging all stakeholders, from states football associations, clubs, players, coaches, fans,
agents, corporate Nigeria, commercial partners, to policymakers, etc., to ensure that the
future of women’s football is a collective and well-rounded effort.

NWFL has introduced, subject to ratification at the Annual General Assembly, a ground-
breaking 3-league structure of 216 Clubs comprising 16 Premiership, 20 Championship, and
180 States League clubs, (up from the previous 36 clubs – Premiership: 14; Championship:
12; Nationwide (now States Leagues): 10 clubs). This tiered system is a strategic move that
offers players the opportunity to nurture and refine their skills at various levels, thus
fostering a robust pipeline of talent for the future.
This immediate expansion will ensure that over the season, about 820 matches will be
played on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, every week; keeping over 7,000 players, coaches, and
officials fully engaged.

The adoption of FIFA’s women’s development strategy by the NWFL, signifies a bold step
towards the advancement of women’s football in Nigeria. With a focus on competitiveness,
grassroots growth, inclusivity, a funding model, and strategic partnerships, NWFL is poised
to make a lasting impact on the sport’s landscape.
NWFL understands that success is a team effort. Collaborations and partnerships with like-
minded organizations and stakeholders are essential to realising their vision. Leveraging the
league’s new stakeholder engagement drive – Women Football Rising©, several initiatives
have been designed, including the “He4She© Campaign”, a transformative movement that
aims to unite Influential men in Nigeria to support and empower women’s football and the
“Sisterhood© Campaign”, aimed at harnessing the collective power of women across
professions, businesses, religious, social, and cultural groups to empower women’s football.
The “Football and the Girl Child© Campaign”, is also an initiative that seeks to engage
communities in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria and the FCT, to promote the safety,
security, inclusivity and personal development of the girl child through grassroot football,
while “Class to Pitch©”, a collaboration with Sports Business Institute, aims to train more
professionals in the women football ecosystem (coaches, referees, etc).

Stakeholder engagements across the states and clubs have already begun, with the board
engaging Nasarawa, Adamawa, Kogi states and FCT Clubs in Abuja. The familiarization tour
has visited Delta, Imo, Ekiti and Ondo States and the engagements will continue up to and
after the Annual General Assembly.
NWFL’s goal is to deliver a women’s football league that is fiercely competitive, with fans on
the edge of their seats, brimming with distinct appeal, and governed to the highest
standards. Ms. Nkechi Obi’s leadership and the NWFL team’s dedication, are steering the
league towards this vision and the journey under this leadership promises a brighter future
for women’s football in Nigeria. With a strategic roadmap, grassroots focus, collaborations,
and unveiling of the Women Football Rising©, platform, the NWFL is set to rise and shine
on the global football stage. The women of Nigeria are ready to take their place in the
spotlight, and NWFL is leading the way.

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