Super Falcons stars Stella Mbachu and Chioma Ajunwa have expressed their displeasure over the continued exclusion of their fellow ex-international Maureen Mmadu from the honours list by the relevant authorities in the country.
According to Punch report, on September 11, 2007, Mmadu became the first Nigerian, male or female, to hit the 100-game milestone for the country, when she featured for the Falcons against Sweden at the Women’s World Cup in China. The match ended 1-1.
In the process, Mmadu also became the first African woman to play 100 international games.
But since then, the feat hasn’t received the deserved recognition, while three Super Eagles players Vincent Enyeama, Joseph Yobo and Ahmed Musa, who also hit the century of caps years later, were honoured.
Last year, the Nigeria Football Federation gifted Musa N10m after the Super Eagles captain played his 100th Nigeria game in the Eagles’ 2-1 win over Cape Verde during the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
“The NFF will give Ahmed Musa N10m for reaching the 100 caps. We will sustain this gesture and honour our players that hit 100 games henceforth,” ex-NFF boss Amaju Pinnick told the media.
Mmadu’s ex-teammate in the national team Mbachu decried the lack of attention for female athletes in Nigeria.
“Nigeria generally regards men more than women, nobody naturally gives women any chance here, it’s a Nigerian thing. Maybe the media are just the ones that remember that we have a woman who played 100 international matches for the country before the men did. For the administrators, they don’t pay much attention because we see the way they treat the men and women,’’ Mbachu stated.
Ajunwa, a member of the Falcons squad to the maiden Women’s World Cup in 1991, described Mmadu’s treatment as “injustice.”
“It is the same FIFA that takes account of these stats for men that does the same for women. So, why can’t they (women) be treated the same way? After all, when it comes to achievements, apart from the Olympics, where the females have not been able to win any medal, they have won more titles than the men, even as far as getting to the quarter-finals of the World Cup,” Olympic long jump gold medallist Ajunwa said.
“Even in athletics, it’s the same treatment. I remain the only person to have played football at the World Cup level, switched to athletics and won a gold medal for Nigeria at the Olympics. Even in the media, the attention is low,’’ Ajunwa added.
On how things could change positively for Nigerian sportswomen, Ajunwa urged women in sports to get involved in the administration and also make their presence felt.
She said, “I would be very happy the day a woman will become the sports minister in Nigeria. When we talk about gender, it is still everywhere, and I think that every woman should work so hard to ensure that we take positions. When we have a lot of women there, we will be able to talk about inclusion anytime the men are taking centre stage.’’