Association of Former Female Athletes of Nigeria (AFFAN), revealed that the group are set to honour former female athletes who represented Nigeria in all international competitions in the 1960s and 1970s.
Recalled that, AFFAN is committed to using sports programmes to identify talented girls that would be nurtured and developed to become total athletes in academically sound and sport skilled and capable of winning laurels for Nigeria.
President of AFFAN, Mrs Esther Oluwatoyin Aluko, disclosed this in Abuja, during a press briefing to herald the inaugural awards and dinner of the international athletes.
She noted that the vision of the “impact project is to positively transform the lives of girls, families and communities, using sport as a platform to reach out to the unreachable and the vulnerable.
The award which holds on Saturday, 21st January 2023, Aluko said: “This group of special athletes had not at any time been recognized and honoured by any organization in Nigeria. AFFAN believes that these sports ambassadors of the 60s and 70s richly deserve to be honoured; after all, a line in our national anthem states that ‘the about of our hero’s past shall never be in vain’.
“It is for this reason that our association has decided to recognize and honour these unsung heroes who had at various times in the 60s and 70s made the country proud through their outstanding sports performances. Though some of them are now deceased, we deem it fit to celebrate and put smiles on the faces of those who are still alive.
“Our Association has in the last three (3) years organised different programmes some of which are GirlsRGames Inter-Departmental Competition at Government Secondary School Dutse, renovated the school’s basketball and volleyball courts and donated some sports equipment such as volleyballs, basketballs and rings, handballs and a pair of the goal post and AFFAN Sports wears, among others.
“We also introduced Netball to Royal Family Academy and donated netball equipment which we received from Community Sports Educational Development (CSED) to schools and some states of the Federation.
“AFFAN constructed the first netball court in the Federal Capital territory, courtesy of one of our partners, Barr. Kunle Opeifa, and AFFAN members. We also celebrated some of the United Nations days such as International Day for Sports, Peace and Development and international Olympic Day with sporting events, workshops and seminars in schools on different occasions. AFFAN has many projects, one of which we tagged #ilmpact projects.”
While speaking on the ilmpact female coach project, she said that there is no doubt that there is a dearth of female coaches in Nigeria and the reason is not far-fetched.
“The coaching network in Nigeria is male dominated as women are not encouraged to pursue a career in coaching while the few on the job are neither given recognition nor the opportunity to rise to the top of the ladder in the profession. We believe that the Nigerian future elite female coaches are the youths playing or competing presently in various schools, clubs and states.”