Former Super Eagles chief coach, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde, has paid a glowing tribute to the late wife of one of Nigeria’s biggest legendary players, Teslim ‘Thunder’ Balogun, as the family marks the 19th year memorial of her demise.

 

Onigbinde, stated that, Alhaja Mulikat Balogun, was a great motivator to her late husband when he was an active Nigeria’s international footballer. “Thunder Balogun was a great asset to Nigeria because of the active contributions of his wife. She rendered quality assistance to various youth clubs in Lagos state that aided the development of the game that brought fame to her husband.”

 

The former General Manager of the IICC Shooting Stars Football Club of Ibadan noted that, Mulikat ‘Thunder’ Balogun left behind a memorable high profile of her immense contributions to the development of Nigerian football. “In 1958, she was the one who persuaded her husband to dump his British club, Queens Park Rangers to return to Nigeria so as to assist the West Rovers in their quest to win the Nigeria Challenge Cup title, which ‘Thunder’ eventually helped achieved. This followed a passionate plea to her by the then Premier of Western Nigeria, Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.”

 

The President General of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, in his tribute to the late Mulikat ‘Thunder’ Balogun, said she was a great lover who played a noble role on her husband’s glorious soccer career.

A team of inspectors from the Nigeria Football Federation has declared the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo ready for next month’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying cracker between Nigeria and South Africa.

 

Led by the Chairman of NFF Technical and Development Committee, Barrister Chris Green, the team expressed delight with the state of the pitch during a final inspection carried out on Monday.

 

“We want to express our appreciation to the Akwa Ibom State Government and the people of the State for their co-operation in observing no activity on the pitch of the stadium. That has helped to retain the lush nature of the turf.

 

“The NFF is of the belief that this abstinence will be observed until after the match,” said Green, who led a first inspection to the venue last month.

 

Also in the NFF delegation were NFF Executive Committee member, Ibrahim Musa Gusau and Deputy General Secretary, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme.

 

Green and his team were conducted round the arena by the Permanent Secretary, Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. Aniedi Dickson, the Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Football Association, Mr. Emmanuel Iba and the Chairman of Akwa United Football Club/SSA to Governor on Sports, Mr. Paul Bassey.

 

PHOTO: (L-R): Mr. Dickson (Permanent Secretary, Akwa Ibom Ministry of Youth and Sports); Paul Bassey (Chairman, Akwa United/SSA to Governor on Sports); Dr. Ikpeme (NFF Deputy General Secretary); Barr. Green (leader of delegation); Mr. Iba (Chairman, Akwa Ibom FA) and; Alh. Gusau (Member, NFF Executive Committee).

Nigeria star Francisca Ordega in her third season in USA’s NWSL

Played in front of a historic capacity crowd at last year's African continental final

Ordega says African women’s football will "grow rapidly in the next few years"

On 3 December last year, something extraordinary happened. Fans started arriving at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde a few hours before dawn for a match with a mid-afternoon start. The stadium was effectively at its 40,000 capacity a full five hours before kick-off. The match in question was the final of the CAF Africa Women Cup of Nations. It is a moment that will surely go down as a milestone event for African women’s football.

 

Local hopes of a maiden title were, however, dashed as favourites Nigeria earned a 1-0 triumph. A few months on and Nigeria forward Francesca Ordega still gets shivers of excitement when the topic turns to that continental decider.

 

“This crowd was something else,” an animated Ordega told FIFA.com. “Even for men, you don’t often see that kind of support. The place was crazy that day, people couldn’t even get into the stadium. This was really something else, truly amazing.

 

“I was very happy that we won in front of all the Lionesses fans. It is a different feeling altogether. Playing against Cameroon was really tough. They are a great team, and everyone in Cameroon was supporting them. But we had a lot of professionals in our team, and we were able to count on that experience. Also having a female coach (Florence Omagbemi) and female technical crew ... the feeling was somehow different.”

 

Not that Ordega is inexperienced in the ways of world football. At just 23, Ordega has already featured in four FIFA competitions, and played in five countries – Russia, Sweden, USA, Australia and Nigeria. Also, she has just started a third season at Washington Spirit, a largely unheralded side who took the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) by storm last term before fading to finish second.

 

Africa’s bright new dawn 

That win in Yaounde was a tenth continental victory for Nigeria, with the Super Falcons record spoilt only by two wins for Equatorial Guinea. While Nigeria have long had it their own way, the spread of talent at the recent continental championship is evidence of a rapidly-changing environment on the Mother Continent.

 

Ordega says she has seen significant change during her relatively short career. “The first time I played against Cameroon, it was like playing against babies, we were just toying with them and taking them for granted,” she said.

More Articles ...

Page 1 of 2
Sign up via our free email subscription service to receive notifications when new information is available.