On May 26, 2023, Sapphire Nigeria Women Football Supporters Club, the only female football supporters’ club in Nigeria, took a bold step in advocating for increased support and encouragement for female footballers. They organized a seminar for young aspiring female footballers at The Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Edo State, making their voices heard and promoting the message of “Embrace Football and Say No to Drugs.”
The primary objective of the event was to raise awareness about the importance of abstaining from drugs and to inspire more young girls to pursue their dreams in football. The founder of the club, Jadesola Adelabu, delivered a powerful speech that highlighted the role of sports, particularly football, as a unifying force that breaks down gender barriers and empowers women.
Jadesola Adelabu stated, “In many countries around the world, sports, especially football, has become a powerful tool for amplifying women’s voices and dismantling gender discrimination. Women’s participation in the game has proven to enhance self-esteem and develop leadership skills among our women.”
Recognizing the potential of football to positively impact Nigerian girls, Jadesola emphasized that choosing football as a career path could help combat the prevailing issue of substance abuse among the country’s youth. The event served as a call to action, urging stakeholders to support female football as a means of tackling societal vices and maximizing Nigeria’s human productivity.
In a show of solidarity, two prominent female footballers, Asisat Oshoala and Rasheedat Ajibade, addressed the young participants virtually, sharing their experiences and cautioning against the dangers of drug use. Their words of wisdom served as powerful reminders of the importance of making positive choices and staying focused on their football journeys.
The seminar garnered significant attention, attracting esteemed guests including Sabrina Chikere, the Permanent Secretary of the Edo State Sport Commission and current Chairperson of Bendel Insurance and Edo Queen. Other notable attendees included Dr. Wole Opatola, an accomplished veteran sports journalist, Madam Arit NWFL Nationwide Football League, Mr. Abdul, staff of NWFL, Samuel Ahmadu, an African Women Football expert and member of CAF Media, Mr. Moses Bako Nagogo, an African Women Football expert, and many others who graced the event with their presence.
The seminar organized by Sapphire Nigeria Women Football Supporters Club served as a powerful platform to advocate for the advancement of female football and raise awareness about the detrimental effects of drug abuse. With their unwavering commitment, Sapphire aims to continually champion female football as a transformative development tool, contributing to the eradication of vices that hinder the progress of Nigerian youth.
This event marks a significant milestone in the journey towards empowering and inspiring young girls to pursue their dreams in football while promoting a healthy and drug-free lifestyle. Through collective efforts and ongoing support, we can create a brighter future for female footballers and harness the potential of sports to uplift our nation.