Soccer and gender Relations

There is a close tie between sports and gender relationships in Nigeria. Similarly, to many of the cultural values that Nigeria possesses, they adopted football/soccer through Christian missionaries from the coastal cities of Calabar and Lagos(2207). The students in mission schools were some of the first Nigerians to play the sport of soccer, but since many females did not attend mission schools it took longer for them to adopt soccer into their everyday life(2207). Soccer was considered to be a male sport in Nigeria for a long period of time. Later on in Nigeria’s history, the women’s national soccer team was created which ended up becoming the most popular and successful women’s team on the continent(2207).  The reason why this sport connects with gender relations is simply due to the fact that women rarely compete with males on the soccer field simply because of public perception during this time period. Women mainly play on teams that are part of schools and do not have any tie to males whatsoever even if it is just a pickup soccer game(2208). This is not very surprising to me because we learned a sufficient amount about gender relations within Africa in class and women seem to have many different roles to fulfill than men do. I do find it surprising that women would not even dare to be caught playing soccer on the same field at the same time as men during this time period. This is completely different than my personal experiences with soccer within the United States. I have played the sport my entire life and have played in the same pickup games as females. Even during high school, we would have inter squad scrimmages for fun with the girls soccer team.

My primary article actually shocks me. It discusses how a Nigerian man could’ve won an Olympic medal if he wasn’t from Nigeria. According to the Newspaper article if the man was from Rwanda he would’ve been able to jump his own height by maturity. This whole newspaper article seems very out of the ordinary to me. It doesn’t make sense that he would’ve been able to jump a certain height if he lived in a different country in Africa. This sounds very out of the ordinary to me and doesn’t make much sense but it seems as if Nigeria wasn’t really the heart of athletics within Africa. Other countries seem to have been more culturally progressed in terms of athletics during this particular time period.

As a whole gender relations connect to athletics during this time period because women simply would not dare to be caught on the same playing field as men. This all has to do with Nigerian culture and gender relations in Nigeria during this time period. I am not sure if this has changed in recent time but during the time period from 1945-1985 it seems as if this was the norm. Women were treated much differently in Nigeria during this particular time  that is being discussed.


African Jumpers Could have Won Olympic Crown (July 16, 1949) p.15, col.4Sports

Onwumechili, C. (2011). Urbanization and female football in Nigeria: history and struggle in a ‘man’s game’. International Journal Of The History Of Sport, 28(15), 2206-2219. doi:10.1080/09523367.2011.622117


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