International Women's Day 2021: The 10 most powerful women in Nigerian sports
These women have made the most impact in Nigerian sports in recent years.
In a male-dominated world where patriarchy reigns supreme, it is crucial to highlight powerful women and continue to call for changes that will lead to emergence of more.
In that same light, Pulse is highlighting 10 of these women in Nigerian sports. .
1. Asisat Oshoala (Footballer)
When it comes to women and sports in Nigeria, Asisat Oshoala has been the first name on everyone's mind in almost a decade.
She has done it all in football and continues to. She has won many trophies for club and country and is the player with the most African Women's Player of the Year award.
She currently plays for Barcelona's women's team and remains one of Nigeria's best players, if not the best.
Off the pitch, she has been equally influential with her Asisat Oshoala Foundation, which organises a popular tournament annually for young girls.
2. Aisha Falode (Media/Administrator)
After making her name as a sports journalist, Aisha Falode has continued her work of pushing women's sports in Nigeria to a greater height.
As one of the top football administrators in Nigeria, she runs the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL).
3. Mary Onyali-Omagbemi (Administrator)
With two Olympic medals and a Commonwealth Games title, Mary Onyali-Omagbemi is indeed one of Nigeria's best in history.
It's been years since she left the track, and she continues to work to grow sports in Nigeria.
She is currently a technical adviser to the Director of the National Sports Commission and one of the ambassadors for the re-branded National Principal's Cup.
4. Odunayo Adekuroye (Wrestler)
Adekuroye's feat as a wrestler has made her one of the most powerful women in Nigerian sports. Since 2014, she has been winning medals and titles for Nigeria in several competitions, including the World Wrestling Championship and the African Wrestling Championships.
5. Desire Oparanozie (Footballer)
There is power in being brave, and that's what has set Desire Oparanozie apart. On the pitch, she is one of Nigeria's best female players.
Off the pitch, she has taken on the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the most powerful sports federation in Nigeria and not out of her selfish interest but for that of all her national teammates.
6. Chisom Mbonu (Broadcaster)
In a male-dominated field, Chisom Mbonu has solidified her status as one of Nigeria's top sportscasters.
She had to work her way up from just being the 'football girl' in Enugu to one of the influential faces and voices in Nigerian sports.
She currently works for SuperSport as a broadcaster.
7. Nkechi Obi (Administrator)
Nkechi Obi has done lots of work in the development of the grassroots-based Nigerian sports industry. The value she has delivered in that aspect makes her a suitable candidate on this list.
She runs a sports management firm and has also been appointed as Deputy Coordinator under the Youth and Sports Development by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
She is also a consultant to the Nationwide League One (NLO).
8. Alhaja Ayo Omidiran (Administrator)
At first look, Alhaja Ayo Omidiran is just your regular Nigerian politician, but those who know her will tell you of her passion for women's sports in Nigeria.
That passion had seen her been actively involved in women's sports since 1997 when she became the proprietor of Omidiran Babe, a female football club in Osogbo, Osun State.
She first became a member of the Nigerian Football Association Board in 2002 and remained there until 2005.
She was the first woman to serve on the Organising Committee for the FIFA U17 and U-20 Women's World Cups in 2006. She has been a member of the FIFA Women Committee since 2016.
She is currently the Head of the NFF Women Football Committee.
9. Tega Onojaife (Media)
Tega Onojaife is another woman who has worked her way into becoming one of the most influential voices in Nigerian sports.
She has not looked back since she quit her career in financial portfolio management to become a sportscaster in 2006.
Her versatility and in-depth knowledge of sports have set her apart in the industry dominated by men.
Aside from her success in media, Onojiafe is also very passionate about women's sports in Nigeria.
Her passion led her to set-up Ladies in Sports International (LIS), a platform that seeks to celebrate and improve women's sports in Nigeria and beyond.
With her LIS platform, she has organised conferences and campaigns to promote women in sports.
10. Blessing Okagbare
Blessing Okagbare remains one of the leading faces of women sports in Nigeria. The Olympics and World Championships medalist holds the Women's 100 metres Commonwealth Games record for the fastest time at 10.85 seconds. Her 100 m best of 10.79 makes her the African record holder for the event.
She was African 100m and long jump champion in 2010. She has also won medals at the All-Africa Games and the IAAF Continental Cup.
Recently, the three-time Olympian got into the Guinness World Records for her appearance in Diamond League meetings.
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