By Emmanuel Afonne
Mr Paul Edeh, Chairman, Naija Ratels football club of Abuja, has said that the love for the girl-child and not money propelled him into establishing two female football outfits.
Edeh, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja on Wednesday also said that he was moved by the huge gaps in the financial benefits between the male and female football players.
“You discover that the transfer fees for the male cadre is huge compared to the female category.
“In view of this, I thought it was an opportunity to make the difference because people don’t like to venture into it,” he said.
The Naija Ratels Chairman further said that the rate of neglect of the girl-child in the society and disparity in monetary gains in various government owned clubs necessitated his action.
“Another reason which propelled me to venture into this is the rate at which the government has paid less attention to female players in various football clubs.
“You will see that opportunities are given more to the male folk in almost every sector of the society, including football.
“There is disparity in terms of players remuneration in government owned clubs to the extent I felt, perhaps, maybe because they didn’t have the opportunity of becoming medical doctors or lawyers as every other person.
“I see this as an opportunity to help them make a career out of football since they have chosen it as a trade hoping that it will provide them the platform to excel in life.
“I could have been discouraged when we started in Benue because we did badly in all the games we played having lost 0-5 and 0-7 to the national under-17 and under-20 female teams respectively.
“We also went to the amateur playoffs and finished the tournament on the last spot.
“This could have discouraged us but what we were doing wasn’t about money or what we stand to gain, but for the girl-child,” Edeh said.
He noted that the team had improved tremendously following aggressive recruitments they did from the grassroots.
He further said that over N100 million had been spent to pay salaries of his players and officials as well as registration for the NECO and WAEC examinations of those in secondary school.
Edeh added: “We have spent our money on scholarships for our players; the scholarships are 100 per cent and some are in the university.
“We have paid WAEC fees for 15 players who are in secondary school and we are paying for another 20 players who are to write NECO.
“This gesture is for the players of Naija Ratels, a team based in Abuja, and its sister club Honey Badgers, based in Makurdi, Benue.”
NAN reports that Niaja Ratels are among the nine female clubs in the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL), Championship Division, also known as “Division One”.
Others clubs in the division are Kwara Ladies FC, Ubakala Queens FC, Kaduna Queens FC, Invincible Angels FC, Moje Queens FC, Female Machine FC, Omidiran Babes FC and Beautiful Tours Angels FC. (NAN)