Earlier in the year, the 19-20 campaign for the NWPL was scrapped with nods toward the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the first time since 1990 that the competition didn’t take place. As the 20-21 season nears, recent news around the new licensing regulations announced by the NWFL board has been revealed. Many of these regulation changes focus largely on a minimum standard of care for the players and teams including rules around coaching expectations as well as player insurance.
This could lead to a change in attitude toward the league too as betting sites in Nigeria have begun to place an increasing focus on a diversity of sports, including the women’s premier league for football. That also comes alongside the continued growth and popularity for these markets in Nigeria, with sports betting and online gambling on the rise.
The changes for the Women’s Premier league are as follows:
“Henceforth a minimum of two women coaches or two women officials will sit on the technical bench in line with FIFA/CAF regulations with special focus on encouraging development and integration of women participation in football at all levels” – This first change as described is aimed at encouraging Nigerian women to take part in football, particular on the official level. With men’s football being so big in the region, there is often an imbalance for officials in attendance and this hopes to rectify that balance.
“Clubs must submit to the NWFL an audited annual report of their activities as follows: A) indebtedness, profit or losses, B) Sponsorship, C) A clear evidence of payment of players’ salaries in the previous season, D) A detailed list of category of salaries of players for the news season” – Another change that promises to offer more transparency in the league as it continues to develop, a change that may have also been spurred on by news in other league markets as breaches of salary caps have become a continued issue and this change future proofs any risks of this occurring.
“Clubs must ensure all registered players are covered for injury, accident, and in the case of death. The NWFL in her quest for development in the technical area also will henceforth frown at coaches not qualified or licensed to sit on the technical bench of various clubs.”
This change provides longevity to both the players and the clubs that they play for by offering future proof protection. Whilst this is largely taken for granted across the sporting world as an expected addition when signing with a club, it had not been a feature in the smaller women’s league. This change ensures that any athlete who does become a professional at the top flight league will at least be covered through any injury they may suffer.
“A list of coaching crews with details, attached credentials of which minimum requirements/certification will be a NIS advanced course of study. Uncertified NIS or equivalent coaches will not be eligible or qualified to access the technical bench during matches in the upcoming league”.
Another form of security being added to ensure that the direction given to the players within the league is within the best interest, as well as ensuring that the coaching and support staff are all qualified to be there and play their role in the team.
All of these changes aim to support the growth of women’s football in the region, as we see globally a huge shift in women’s sporting events to provide additional support as well as ensuring that any staff are qualified. It helps promote a competitive environment and a safe space for the women athletes to compete at the highest levels.
Other news from Nigerian football comes from the Eagles as they prepare for their friendly against Cote d’Ivoire in the coming weeks. The 25-man roster that will be fielded features six players who have not yet capped for the country as much of the roster features a host of young players.
The game is set to take place on October 9th and will be followed less than a week later against the Carthage Eagles, ahead of the preparations to be made for the 2022 AFCON qualifiers. This comes as delays have been issued across all football events due to the coronavirus, with many of these games having to be pushed back a little.
There are now scheduled games right through until the new year, so the young squad will be provided with plenty of opportunities to show off their prowess. One that had come as a surprise had been for Samson Tijani, stating in an interview that he had no prior contact with manager Gernot Rohr or any of his assistants in the days prior to the announcement.
With only four matches and 322 minutes of play at the professional level under his belt the pressure will certainly be on to put a strong performance in, although this hasn’t be an unknown quantity; “Rohr came to the camp when we were preparing for the Africa U17 Cup of Nations, he watched me and the other players, said I’m doing good but I’m still a kid and he’ll be monitoring the good players.” – There had obviously been an eye for talent here early on, and Tijani will finally get to reap the rewards of the hard work and represent his country on the national stage.
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