FORMER Super Falcons’ Head Coach, Eucharia Uche, has declared her support for the Aisha Buhari Cup, saying that with the tournament, future is assured for Nigerian women and the girl-child.
Uche, who led the Falcons at the 2011 FIFA World Cup finals in Germany made this known in an interview on the sidelines of the tournament billed for Lagos as from September 3.
She said that the invitational tournament with the theme, Playing For Good under the Futured Assured Programme of the Aisha Buhari Foundation, is a project capable of taking the Nigerian girl-child and the women folks generally to greater heights in all endeavours of life.
“I give kudos to Her Excellency the First Lady for putting her weight behind women football in Africa. We just pray that more positive support like this continue to come for the gender game. Women football has come to stay; there is no going back,” Eucharia said.
She added: “For the Future Assured Programme, this is the right step in the right direction, because over the years, women and the girl-child have been poorly treated and marginalised in Nigeria and in Africa. And for women football, you know that, most of the talented players are from very poor homes.
“These are the ones who were fortunate to be discovered to become in the long run club players, national team players and international stars, who ended up becoming the bread winners of their families and even legends in the game, while a large percentage of the girl-child who were not discovered to play football and other women sports, found themselves on the streets doing all sorts things we may not want to talk about here.
“If well propagated and messages disseminated across Nigeria and Africa during the invitational tournament, the days of seeing the girl-child stray into the streets unguided will soon be over.
“The girl-child and women can be put on the right pedestal early enough to discover their talents in various spheres of life, such that would make them useful to their families, Nigeria, Africa and the world at large. This is quite commendable by the First Lady.”
Eucharia appealed to Nigerian players to take the competition serious and regard each match as the Final.
AISHA BUHARI CUP FACTS
* Nigeria became the first African side to play at the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup in China in 1991 after defeating their opponents home-and-away in the qualifying series.
* Morocco have featured at two editions of the Women AFCON finals.
* South Africa’s Banyana Banyana have featured in two Olympic Games in 2012 and 2016.
* Nicknamed Black Queens, Ghana’S Women National Team has qualified for three FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in 1999, 2003 and 2007 as well as reaching the final of the Women AFCON Cup thrice, in 1998, 2002 and 2006.
* Gabrielle Onguene, Galle Enganamouit and Ajara Nchout have three FIFA World Cup goals to their names.
* Cameroon have been runners-up at the AWCON four times in 1991, 2004, 2014 and 2016, losing to fierce rivals Nigeria on all occasions.
* South Africa won the COSAFA Women’s Champions four times in a row; 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
* Banyana Banyana of South Africa made their AWCON debut in 1995 and are beaten finalists a number of times: 1995, 2000, 2008, 2012 and 2018. They also have five players that have played over 100 games for their country.
* Desire Oparanozie from Nigeria and Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa won the Golden Boot at the 2014 and 2018 AWCON finals respectively, with five goals each.
*The Aisha Buhari Foundation which is the platform for programs organised by the First Lady has 5 main objectives which are Health, Education, Economic Empowerment, Humanitarian Aid and Protection of women and children.
* Six national teams will feature at the Aisha Buhari Cup, first of its kind in Africa, as hosts Nigeria celebrate 30 years of international women football.
* Cameroon’s Indomitable Lionesses beat Ecuador 6-0 at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup to become the first African side to score so many goals in a single match in the history of the global soccer fiesta.