Nigeria’s national women’s soccer team, the Super Falcons

The head of the Nigerian Women’s Football League, Dilichukwu Onyedinma, has announced that the league has formally barred lesbian players from taking part in the sport.

“Any player that we hear is associated with it [lesbianism] will be disqualified,” she was quoted as saying at the league’s Annual General Assembly last week in Abuja by the Nigerian media.

“We will call the club chairmen to control their players, and such players will not be able to play for the national team.

“It [lesbianism] is happening but we have to talk to the clubs, and look inside the clubs and these things have to do with clubs,” she said.

“There are particular clubs that don’t even want to hear about it and once they heard it the players involved will be sacked.”

In June 2011, ahead of the Women’s World Cup in Germany, it was reported that rumours of lesbianism had led to some players being thrown out of the Nigerian national women’s soccer team, the Super Falcons.

Coach Eucharia Uche told The New York Times at the time that the “dirty issue” of lesbianism in the team had since been dealt with thanks to prayer and divine intervention.

The issue made international headlines and FIFA, the international governing body of football, was called on to step in.

A campaign backed by an AllOut.org online petition, signed by almost 47,000 people, condemned “the blatant discrimination, and even termination, of players ‘suspected’ of being gay”.

In response, FIFA announced it would launch an investigation into the reports of homophobia by Nigerian football officials.

Mambaonline, however, has been unable to find the results of this investigation or even that an investigation was ever undertaken.

FIFA’s claim at the time that it “is against all forms of discrimination” seems to not have been taken seriously by Nigerian football officials and the country’s women’s team has continued to play internationally without any sanction.

Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Nigeria, punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment across the country and death by stoning in 12 states that have adopted Shari’a law.

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