The Nigerian women's football team, the Falcons, has expelled a number of lesbians, according to a report in a Nigerian newspaper.
The news has been reported in Germany, where the Nigerian team is to meet the German team in a FIFA Women's World Cup game 30 June.
Nigerian newspaper Sun News reports that Coach Eucharia Uche told Daily Sunsports last weekend that "lesbianism could be counted as a thing of the past among [the Nigerian women's team]".
"Yes, lesbianism used to be a big problem in the team, but since I took over as the chief coach of Falcons, I think the problem has been dealt with. Lucky, some of the girls played with me and they know my dos and don'ts. They know that I cannot tolerate such a nasty practice. In fact, lesbianism does not currently exist in Falcons' camp and nobody discusses it."Uche "shocked" her audience at a event in 2009 'First Seminar on Women Football in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects' shortly before she was hired "with the startling admittance that some of the country's female players often times indulged in lesbian practices."
"The players have come to know God now unlike what we had in the past. Most of them lived in ignorance, but now, they have realised the truth through proper counselling."
"We now have a bunch of players that are thirsty for the things of God and with that, they are now more committed and devoted to their games, knowing that football can attract fame, fortune and joy to their hearts quite unlike lesbianism that can ruin them. The Christians among them now go to church and on our own, we periodically organise non-denominational prayer sessions."
"We have seen the result of our efforts and I can tell you that lesbianism is now a thing of the past in the camp of the Super Falcons."
“It's a worrisome experience that some of our players indulge in lesbianism. Some of them go as far as renting rooms in hotels around the team's campsite where they go to satisfy their orgy," Uche said.
“A good number of them even bring their male friends into the camp. It's a serious development that has been detrimental to the team's growth and performance."The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)'s Chief Media Officer, Ademola Olajire, has previously denounced "women sleeping with their fellow women as love birds".
“We all know of these vices because lesbianism has become a thing of common knowledge that the female footballers no more hide it among themselves. However, those who indulge in the nasty act had promised to stop it and the NFF is putting measures in place to ensure that they keep to their promises,” Olajire said.The former NFF technical assistant Sir James Peters, told The Sun News:
"Having coached female teams in the US, I have an in-depth knowledge about how lesbians operate."Peters confirmed that in the past he had excluded players from the national team because they are lesbians.
"When I was in charge of the Falconets, we did not allow lesbian to stay in the same room. We took time to identify all of them and checkmated them with some restrictions."
"The act was rampart with the Super Falcons that played at the World Cup in China and at the African Women Championship in Equatorial Guinea. It was during those tournaments that I discovered the lesbians in the team."
"When I was drafted to work with the Falcons last year, I decamped some of the players, not because they were not good players, but because they were lesbians. It did not go down well with some of the players because we made sure that neither the 'husband' nor the 'wife' made the team,” Peters said.
Last year, Nigeria accused Equatorial Guinea of using at least one and perhaps two male players on its team because of their supposed masculine appearance.
FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, states as part of its mission a desire to use the game in “overcoming social and cultural obstacles for women with the ultimate aim of improving women’s standing in society.”
FIFA has been heavily criticised for awarding the Men's Word Cup to Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.
Joanie Evans of England, who is a co-president of the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association, told the New York Times that her group was “appalled” by the Nigeria situation.
“Women in sport are seen as a poor relation as it is. To discriminate against women again because of their sexuality is really damaging.”Evans criticized FIFA for not being as forceful in fighting against homophobia as it has been trying to counter racism in soccer. FIFA said that gender discrimination was strictly prohibited and that violations could result in suspensions or expulsions, but that it could not comment on the Nigeria case because it had received no official information or complaints.