The initiative supported by Fundación LaLiga and Petrichor Football Association dropped curtains in grand style on Saturday, 20th January 2024 in Yaounde, Cameroon.
17 years old, Gabriella Awomo Essomba is passionate about football and dreams of being an international player in a renowned female club.
Gabriella wishes to travel like other talented female footballers of Cameroon who have developed a love for the round ball.
The young female footballer was part of the 4-month program of the third season of the Equality league launched in October 2023 in Yaounde.
She describes the League for Equality as an open opportunity for young girls like her who dream of playing football in an international arena.
Gabriella said: “It is a fantastic project. I am very happy to be part of this training program because I love football and I want to be one of the best players in Cameroon. I wish to travel to prove my talent…”
The 4-month program that gathered over 600 young girls aged between 13 to 17 and 50 coaches ended on Saturday, 20th January 2024 with final games.
The competition is grouped into three categories: under 13s, under 15s and 17s.
In the under 13s final match pitting Green City to Petrichor FC, the team of Petrichor Football Association took advantage of its opponents on a 1 goal to nil score. Same in the under-15s final game, where Petrichor FC defeated Green City 2 goals to 1. In the last game of the under-17 ladies, Green City was thrashed 2 goals to zero by Petrichor football club.
The closing ceremony was spiced with the award of distinctions and medals to the best players, strikers, defenders, goalkeepers, and coaches.
The Presser proper
To highlight media practitioners, organizers granted a press conference on January 19, 2024, in Yaounde, precisely at the residence of Spain’s Ambassador to Cameroon.
It was revealed that the third season of the League for Equality had several innovative approaches contrary to the two previous ones.
Paul Dreisbach, President of the NGO, Petrichor said the initiative set up comes in to reinforce the promotion of football in a country such as Cameroon with a good number of talents.
They have targeted over 600 young girls and have sponsored through training and equipment, many local female clubs.
He said the League for Equality is open to any club willing to work with them and for a positive impact, knowing the difficulties several local clubs still face in developing the talents of their players.
On his part, Tresor Penku, Director General of LaLiga in Africa, praised the support of all technical and financial partners who have vested a lot of energy in this initiative that is going a long way.
He thanked the Spanish government for its continuous support.Moreover, he said the program which started with 160 young girls is today accompanying over 600.
Amongst these young female players, some talents have been detected by international clubs, which is a positive note according to Mr. Penku Tresor.
On the question to know if the League for Equality will be extended in the months ahead to other regions of Cameroon, Paul Dreisbach, and Tresor Penku outlined the fact that they are working firmly and strongly on the sustainability of the program before moving forward.
Yet, as underscored by Mr. Paul Dreisbach, there is a need for local sponsors to come on board and support the project. The challenges are huge and to overcome them many sponsors are expected.
Spanish Ambassador to Cameroon, His Excellency, Ignacio Garcia in his key words said the promotion of equality and respect of women as branded in this initiative of Laliga and Petrichor are values on which his country is attached strongly.
Apart from the fact that the project is spearheaded by a Spanish organization, the Ambassador said it is a means for Spain as a friendly country to accompany Cameroon in developing its female soccer.
Mr. Ignacio Gracia believes this initiative will equally help boost the zeal of young girls who love football but are still reluctant to engage themselves.
About the League for Equality
Since February 2022, Non-Governmental organizations, Petrichor and LaLiga, through its Foundation and its women’s football department, have binned forces to create a football league aimed at promoting female football for girls aged between 13 to 17.
From all indications, this collaboration is an extraordinary opportunity for youngsters, and especially girls, to be part of a real football league and enjoy all aspects of sports just like the boys.
“This will not only allow them to travel, meet other teams, compete, build their character, and develop their skills, but also to express themselves, and be valued and treated equally through football.”
“At Petrichor we are excited about the idea of partnering with LaLiga to organize an innovative women’s football league and to offer training courses for women coaches by LaLiga. LA LIGUE D’ÉGALITÉ (The League for Equality) will provide all the equipment, logistics, and media,” said Paul Dreisbach, President of Petrichor.
“Petrichor is pleased to work with LaLiga to provide leadership opportunities and build confidence through sport, which will have a positive impact on hundreds of girls from Cameroon. The founders of Petrichor, Paul Dreisbach, and Jordan Cone, together with the representative of La Liga, Tresor Penku, believe in the power of sport to change lives and look forward to projects that achieve a strong impact. Future leaders They are all around us and we are excited about our responsibility to educate them through our sports programs”