By Amaechi Agbo
Nigeria award-winning investigative journalist and founder of Fame Foundation, Aderonke Bello has described her invitation to participate in the 2019 Women’s Convention by FIFA in Paris, France as a victory for Nigeria women footballers and all women in the continent and the entire world.
Speaking in an interview, the Sportsdiva publisher, said that the invitation would spur her to do more than she’s been doing adding that she could not point out which of her works FIFA considered before extending the invitation to her.
“It was a surprise to me because I never expected it. But one fact remains that I am very passionate about the girl child and being a stakeholder in the Nigeria football, I have the obligation to advocate for, support and seek for a better living for the female athletes in the country.
“For the FIFA Secretary-General, Fatma Diouf Samoura to consider me for participation at the convention is a great honour and I feel very good about it.
It is an invitation that represents hope for women footballers in Nigeria, Africa and the world. This invitation is an ice breaker of my participation in FIFA future events and it will serve as an encouragement for me to work harder and do more for women athletes in Nigeria and the entire world.
“The convention is all about women inclusion and more welfare packages for the women footballers
“They did not point out any specific work I did as the reason for the invitation and on my own part, honestly, I cannot point out which of the works I did that they considered.
“I have been involved in women football participation since 2012, so it has been a long time. But in all the works I did and still do, I do them well because of the passion I have for women and athletes.
“But the most outstanding work I did was the Super Falcons protest I led in 2016 when the football federation could not pay them after winning the women AFCON in December that year. The players were not paid a dime for participating and winning the tournament and Christmas was just a week away.
“I went to the camp and gathered the players together for the protest. I also launched the hash tag #Payfalcons and it trended in Nigeria for two days and a lot of people keyed into it and it went viral. At the end of the day, the players were paid. While we were protesting, the Chief of Staff to President Buhari came and met us at the National Assembly and told the girls to go back to their hotel promising that they will be paid and they fulfilled the promise.
“Maybe this is the work FIFA considered for this invitation, I do not know. However, I have done a lot for Nigeria female footballers and this will only spur me to do more,” she concluded.
World football governing body FIFA this week via the office of the Secretary-General of the association, invited Bello for the Women’s Football Convention holding in Paris, France.
Bello is the founder of a non-governmental organisation Fame Foundation and a sports governance expert.
The FIFA convention will hold from June 6 to 7, 2019.
The gathering has drawn delegates from all the FIFA member nations and it will aim to access the current state of the women’s game.
The convention will also showcase good practice examples in the game of football.