In African women’s football, homophobia still poses a barrier

by | Jul 29, 2022 | World

Nigeria’s hegemonic decades-long dominance over Africa’s women’s football scene has long masked a dark secret: Openly homosexual players are not allowed.The Super Falcons are Africa’s most prosperous national team, but this discriminatory attitude has cast a shadow over their success and led to the ostracisation of talented footballers over the years.
In 2014, the Nigerian parliament passed a bill into law prohibiting same-sex unions and making them punishable by as much as 14 years in prison.
While homosexuality was already illegal before that, sports insiders say the edict was a backdrop for a concerted campaign against queer people in football.
‘Because they were lesbians’
In a 2011 interview published by the local Daily Sun newspaper, former Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) technical assistant James Peters said he had overseen the removal of players from the women’s national team “because they were lesbians”.
Two years later, comments made by Dilichukwu Onyedinma, then chairperson of the Nigeria Women’s Football League (NWFL) and member of the NFF, drew the attention of world football governing body FIFA. In response to her categorical directive for the sacking and disqualification of “any player that we find is associated with it [lesbianism]”, FIFA wrote to the NFF demanding clarification and reiterating its stance against discrimination of all kinds.
By virtue …

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