My Jordan Diary, Day 7: History of Women Football

By Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam

My red eyes with which I stared in the mirror were self-explanatory. I could also see my dried pale-looking lips begging for succulence - my lip balm has lost its effectiveness. But it's all part of the experience and even the bread at breakfast can testify.

Moya Dodd, a very influential figure in women's football was coming to visit us and I was excited about that. She's friends with my friend Janine Anthony, I also had that in mind.

In class, however, it was observed that lateness had begun to creep into our midst.

The tiredness, as Gianni Merlo, the President of AIPS, noted was already telling on us as we craved rest day. But as I stated earlier, it's all part of the experience and we are enjoying it nonetheless.

Of course, Riccardo reminded us in class that "being on time is a prerequisite for being a good journalist" as he went on to tell us about another word that is important in the profession, 'BALANCE'.

Journalists have the power to influence people, he explained, adding that we need to be responsible and be aware that every word has a weight. He used different headlines to illustrate this.

After our coffee break, we had the honour of welcoming Moya Dodd, Ex Vice President of the Asian Football Confederation, AFC Exco, and a former member of the FIFA Council.

Before she started telling us about herself and her efforts in the development of women's football, we did a little test. She asked us six questions which included, "In what year was women's football 'banned' in England? It was in 1921 and none of us got it.

From her little test, we also found out that seven out of the eight titles in Women's Olympics Football Tournaments and World Cups since 2000 have been won by women coaches, the exception being Norio Sasaki of Japan in 2011.

Moving on, Dodd said, "Banning women from playing football is the greatest sporting injustice". She then reiterated that the statutory objective of FIFA is the development of women's football and the inclusion of women into the government structure.

I couldn't meet her in person afterwards. She had to leave immediately.
Of course my assignment today had to be on the Nigeria vs England game. It was me vs Katie, my colleague from Newcastle.

Like the day before, we had our lunch packed since we would not have time to eat before leaving. It was Roselyn's arrangement. I told you before that the Secretary General of the AIPS is like a mother to us, Young Reporters and we were told in class today that she would be leaving for her country Australia. Her flight was for 2am. None of us expected she would be leaving after a week, but she had already made sure of our comfort for the duration of our stay.

While in the bus to the Prince Mohammed International Stadium in Al Zarqa, Katie and I decided we would take a photo of us partaking in the handshake of peace before kickoff and we did just that when the time came. Tracy, the Cameroonian Young Reporter, did the honour of taking the first photo, then Sonja, one of our AIPS mentors and more like Editor in chief, took another which she posted on the AIPS Twitter handle.

The game ended goalless, no victor, no vanquished. Fair for Katie, not good for me.

At half time, I had gone to speak with some of the Nigerian fans I had spotted in the stands, but I was not allowed into their section. The security personnel at the gate of that section insisted I waited till the final whistle, but I knew I would not succeed in my mission if I did that, so I gave her reasons why I had to do the interviews at that time and she offered to go and call some of the fans for me.

The three people I interviewed were all from Katsina State and have been in Jordan for three years studying at the University of Science and Technology, Irbid on scholarship from their state government. They had come together in a bus to support the Flamingoes.

Twice today did I have issues with "modern facilities" in washrooms. First in the hotel - not the one in my room - before we left for the stadium and then the one at the Stadium Media Centre. You can think what you want, but there were no casualties so you don't have to worry.

Back at the hotel, apart from writing my stories and forwarding them to the appropriate quarters, we made sure to give Roselyn who was leaving us, big sweet hugs. We would definitely miss her a lot.
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