My passion for television brought me to where I am today -Aisha Falode


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Nigeria Women’s Professional Football League (NWFL) President Aisha Falode speaks with CHARLES OGUNDIYA, revealing her rise to the top of sports administration

Aisha Falode is commonly referred to as “The Amazon” due to her appearance on a weekly half-hour family and lifestyle show called “The Amazon”. Many people also preferred to call it “Mama Sports” in some neighborhoods. Falode, however, remains a household name in football circles in Nigeria and around the world. Falode, who is the President of the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL Premiership), is also a board member of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). She recently hosted one of the best season-ending championships in the women’s football league – the NWFL Super 6 – with the emerging winner of the Rivers Angels.

Although she started out as a sports journalist, where she excelled, today Falode also stands out as a sports administrator. She explained that while working as a journalist, she noticed some challenges in the sports industry, but when she got into it, she realized that looking from the side was quite different from working from the interior. She said: “Once a journalist, always a journalist.

As a journalist, you see the things that are wrong and you have different kinds of solutions for them. But I’m telling you, once inside you will realize that what you saw on the outside was quite different from what it is on the inside. The exterior gives you an idea; it gives you a kind of sense of responsibility. You know there are a lot of challenges going into this, but how are you going to deal with the challenges or make the challenges less difficult and just deal with them. “How can you be creative with solutions, that’s one thing journalism teaches us.

It teaches how to be able to adapt, be creative and make the most of a really bad situation because you can’t afford to fail. Falode noted that life in the newsroom somewhat prepares people for other bigger or more difficult jobs, with deadlines and goals to accomplish.

She argued that no one, who had gone through the rigors of journalism and the newsroom, would start to apologize when given other Herculean jobs or dates. She said: “The mindset and attitude of journalists who find themselves in administrative positions, whether in football or business or whatever, is the determination to succeed. That’s the mindset they embrace and you can see the difference they make in the sense of duty and responsibility they come into the job with, and that’s exactly what kept me going. According to the sports administrator, no matter what job you find yourself in, there would always be criticism from different sides. These criticisms, Falode noted, hopefully strengthen.

She noted, “I know that the critics are part of the game and they make us grow, but you have to be able to identify the critics who are progressive and these are the criticisms that come from a good heart. As an administrator, you have to learn to differentiate between good reviews and bad ones. The bad guys don’t deserve our time or our attention.

They just want to distract a person. Once you are distracted, you will lose sight of your goals. Before entering the world of sports journalism, Falode briefly worked with the now defunct Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL). Recalling her time at NITEL, Falode explained that NITEL’s need to recruit people with good English and appropriate training prompted her to join the organization at that time. She said: “I worked briefly with the Graduate Telephone Operators Scheme from the NITEL era.

International telephone operators were seeking to change the concept of telephone operations. Before us, the people NITEL employed as telephone operators were either primary school certificate holders or secondary school certificate holders.

“At the time, NITEL was the only telecommunications company in Nigeria and a lot of people were making international calls. So NITEL needed people with the right skills to be courteous on the phone to their customers, fluent in English, and disciplined. We were used as “guinea pigs” for this program. We followed the training at the NITEL training school in Oshodi for three months, in order to become qualified telephone operators. I was then assigned to NITEL Saka Tinubu Exchange number 23.

She worked there for a year, but then it became stressful because she was working and at the same time leading a masters program at the University of Lagos (UNILAG). As she discovered the challenges of multitasking as a woman, she found out that she was pregnant and expecting her first daughter. She says: “It has become a little stressful for me. I had to withdraw from NITEL, not only to finish my studies, but also to have my baby. After leaving NITEL I tried to buy and sell for a while.

I had a store in Adeniran Ogunsanya, where I sold shoes, bags and lace material. I learned the trade of selling lace material from my aunt in Isale Eko. I think after a year I gave up buying and selling; I told myself it wasn’t for me. That’s why, when the idea for television came up, I knew that was where my heart was. Broadcasting was something I was passionate about and wanted to do.

I’m glad I made the decision to be where I am today. But even in her current position, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Falode, especially when she had to meet the owners of the NWFL Premiership club and announce that the season would end with the Super Six to determine the winner of the league, and the extension of the country’s representative on the continent in the inaugural competition of the Women’s Champions League of the African Football Confederation (CAF).

Understandably, the club owners were used to the regular football season, with the club that won the most games being declared the league winners. But with the 26-game league ending midway through Week 13 due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the former broadcaster wanted to spice up the end of the competition by adding a twist with the introduction of the mini. Super Six tournament – where the top six teams at the end of the league come together to determine the champion. Falode noted, “Clubs just need to see and broaden their visions and see where the goal is.

If you continue to have restrictive vision, you can only see what is right in front of you and cannot see wide, and that is anti-progressive. Anti-progressive in the sense that a tunnel vision makes one think first of self-interest rather than the common good. The collective good is what we try to foster, and that means whatever decision I made, I made sure it was in everyone’s best interest, not just a specific person or person. a particular club in the NWFL.

Explaining further what the NWFL entails and its characteristics, the NWFL said, “We don’t own any clubs, we don’t represent any clubs and we don’t represent any interests. The interest we represent is the interest of women; football interest in Nigeria which is everybody’s interest. The decisions we make or make are in everyone’s best interest and this is the message we take to these club owners. They should just broaden their visions and have a collective interest. Now we have a Champions League and people are supposed to represent Nigeria in the Champions League, not their clubs.

They represent Nigeria and this is the collective approach we are talking about. Even as we speak now, it is still a Nigerian game, but it is a Nigerian game of different clubs, at the continental level. It becomes a Nigerian game because that’s what we want them to see and respect.






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