25 most influential Nigerian women in sports business

25 most influential Nigerian women in sports business

From Aisha Falode, Ayo Omidiran to Nkechi Obi and Debbie Larry-Izamoje: Find out more about the Nigerian women in sports business who are influencing the world.

Take a look at these inspiring women who’ve contributed to sports and the business of sports in Nigeria as we celebrate the 2023 International Women’s Day.

Not only are they driving equity within the sport industry but they also help to tackle stigmas on what women can do.

Tega Onojaife

From working as a Financial Portfolio manager to her switch into Broadcasting and founding a Sports Initiative that celebrates the strides of Women in Sports, Tega Onojaife will leave an indelible mark on the landscape, no doubt, but even now she is yet not done.

The Ladies in Sports initiative and Syndicated Broadcast productions with Upfront and Personal are among the few of her achievements, but she delivers weekly on her shows across the airwaves on Star times and Smooth 98.1fm as a Sports Analyst and host.

Margaret “Maggie” Ntim

In 2021 Maggie Ntim became the first African American Women Soccer Agent in the USA, a historic achievement that was born from her many years of experience in the Sports industry as well as in Fashion, Entertainment and Tech.

Maggie Ntim

From bagging her Bachelor degree in Business Administration and Marketing at the Hofstra University, she’s gone on to acquire further Certifications and degrees including the Global Executive Master in International Sports Law from ISDE.

She has a rich resume that covers Work done with the US Tennis Association, Madison Square Garden, G-Unit Records, Inc., Nike/Jordan and Coca-Cola to mention but a few.

Driven to pursue her passion and widen the scope of opportunity for Athletes, she founded the Trinity 3 Agency a company that harnesses her experience and She says, seeks to build the future of creative and memorable brand engagement.

Nkechi Obi

With over Three decades of experience in Sports Media and Management, Nkechi Obi can be considered a Pioneer and she continues to impart the Industry.

Nkechi Obi

She has worked with many Sports bodies and Organizations among them: Federal Ministry of Sports / National Sports Commission), The Nigeria Police Force, The Nigerian Army, Kwara State Football Academy, The Nigerian Nationwide League One.

She was appointed Chairperson of the sports thematic group of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), whose main objective is to build an Industry that is a “private sector-led contributor to the economic and social development of Nigeria.”

She was the brain behind the Team Nigeria project (2003-2007), which was designed to harness private and public sector funding for the training and participation of Nigeria’s athletes at international multi-sport events such as the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and All Africa Games.

Nkechi is an expert in Marketing and Communication, Exhibition design and promotion, Event design and management, Media Content development and broadcast (Politics, Music and Sports), Political Media Campaign Management as well as Products Merchandising and Marketing.

The founder of Premium Sports Management Services Limited (PSMS) and Sportspro Nigeria, primarily involved in the design and management of sports projects targeted at engaging the private sector as a pre-eminent partner in sports development in Nigeria.

Mimisen Agatha Iyorhe Calvin-Onwuka

Mimisen a trailblazing Match Referee, who became the first Nigerian Woman Referee to officiate a CAF senior men’s football tournament, at the 2021 African Nations Championship.

Mimisen Iyorhe

Mimisen has also been selected to officiate the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup which comes up later this July. Born in 1984, she was raised in a family of Referees, her Mother was a big influence and it’s no wonder she founded the “Goal Bound Sports Initiative”.

The Organization encourages young girls to take up and participate in sports, educates and mentors Young Men and Women on balancing sports and education or entrepreneurship.

Speaking on her motivation to give back Mimisen said, “I was fortunate to have come from a sporting family where my mum was a great support for me. I know there are many who started with me, but because they did not get the kind of support I had, they could not continue.”

Damilola Bello

Damilola Bello is more than a familiar name in Sports event branding in Nigeria and has carved a niche for herself as “the gateway of the African Esport scene”.

Damilola Bello

She has worked across the Sports field with the biggest names from FIFA, to the IAAF now World Athletics. Damilola Bello serves as Brand and Marketing Communications Manager Nilayo Sports Management Limited; the organization behind Lagos City Marathon, as well as in several top management positions across several Multinational companies.

Damilola is University of Lagos alumni where she bagged her first degree in Mass Communication/Media Planning, but has gone on to acquire further degrees and certifications from the University of Wales, Lagos Business School and London Business School just to mention a few.

Currently, she is the Sports Marketing Manager at Red Bull and doubles as Head of Growth & Partnership at Gamr, where she is on “a mission to aggregate the esports ecosystem in Africa.”

Recalling her journey, she said, “I once aspired to be a corporate communications manager at one of Nigeria’s top banks or multinationals, my first step was to become a brand manager by the age of 30. However, at the young age of 25, I smashed that goal.

“Life experiences, particularly in matrimony, have taught me the importance of stepping out of our comfort zones and chasing our true potential.”

Gbemisola Abudu

Gbemisola Abudu is the NBA Africa Vice President & the country head of NBA Nigeria
She is a Women’s Advocate and the convener and managing partner at BMGA Foundation.
Gbemisola is a dual citizen of Nigeria and the USA.

Gbemisola Abudu

She is an entrepreneur, business leader, luxury marketing expert and social activist with 17 years of experience in developing businesses, brands and human capital in Nigeria, the Middle East and the United States.

She holds an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global management in Glendale, Arizona where she is President of the Thunderbird Alumni Association’s Nigeria Chapter. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and public relations from the University of Wyoming.

Her passion for basketball—and admiration of athletes—stayed with her, though when an opportunity to work at the NBA was presented to her, she hesitated, because she was satisfied with being a sports junkie and building her foundation. But something inside was pulling her in a different direction. She leaned on her faith and the answer was clear—she started to envision how she could use the NBA platform to make a greater impact and influence her native Nigeria on a larger scale.

Debbie Larry-Izamoje 

Debbie Larry-Izamoje is the current Chief Operating Officer of Brila Media; a Sports Media powerhouse that is continuously at the fore front of sportainment in Africa.

Debbie Larry-Izamoje

She is a Harvard-certified charismatic leader who successfully oversaw the rebranding of Nigeria’s first sports radio station, Brila 88.9 FM into Brila Media and is passionately focused on sustaining and improving the legacy of the company. Currently, she is leading the vibrant team of sports media junkies that are on a mission to transform the sports media landscape in Africa through storytelling, up-to-date digital strategies, stakeholder management and innovative systems.

Debbie also worked with the Management Committee of the Nigeria Women Football League, headed by Aisha Falode as a digital communications strategist and was crucial to the NWFL’s identity rebrand in the year 2020. She played a similar role in the management team of Aisha Buhari Invitational tournament in 2021.

Also known as the Entrepreneurs Best Friend, Debbie holds a B.Sc in Information Management from the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom and an M.Sc. in Management from University College London (UCL). She also holds certificates in Innovation and Strategy from Harvard University and user innovation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Straight from school, Debbie started Image Boosters, a digital and PR agency to help brands with digital marketing and to improve their visibility and public relations. She also started coaching the next generation of entrepreneurs, as an author and TV and radio host.

Debbie is passionate about helping old and new businesses connect with, and stay relevant in the current day and age.

Ojonoka Agudah

Ojonoka Agudah is the Head, Legal & Women’s Sports at Integral Sponsorship & Experiential Marketing an expert in Intellectual Property Law, Commercial and Sports Law.

Ojonoka Agudah

She is also vast in Sports Marketing as well with a proven track record in sports marketing relating to a broad range of high-value commercial transactions.

She has hands-on experience in legal advisory and contractual rights delivery in sponsorship, media & broadcast rights, hospitality, merchandise & licensing, talent representation & management and image rights with an in-depth understanding of the extensive value of IP in sports.

A Graduate of the University of Lagos, and Swansea University, United Kingdom where she got her bachelor’s and masters degree in Law respectively finishing with a distinction and being awarded as the Winner of IP Wales Prize for International Intellectual Property Law and Law of Intellectual Assets Management and Transactions Modules as well as being a Representative of the LLM Class in China at the Nanjing Law School Summer Exchange Program on Law and Culture.

Beverley Agbakoba

Beverly Agbakoba-Onyejianya is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and is currently a Partner and Head of Sports, Entertainment & Technology (SET) at Olisa Agbakoba Legal.

She is a member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) Sports thematic Industry group on Alternative Dispute Resolution and Youth Policy Development.

Beverly comes from a family of lawyers and she is also regulatory and compliance professional as well as being a lawyer.

She is called to the Nigerian and UK bar. She is on the panel of neutrals at the Lagos Multi Door Court and the Lagos Court of Arbitration.

She has over 14 years professional experience in the banking and capital markets sectors in the United Kingdom and Nigeria.

Her broad experience in the regulatory and compliance industry covers investment banking, brokerage and fund management sectors and has seen her hold various leadership roles in regulatory and compliance sector.

She is also a member of the Lagos Divisional Football Association and a Mediator -Football Tribunal at Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

She has studied at the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments (UK), The University of Wales, Cardiff (UK), The University of Nottingham (UK) and the Inns of Court School of Law.

Queen John-Moseph

Queen John-Moseph is a Nigerian print and digital media Journalist.

Queen John-Moseph

Queen who is based in Port-Harcourt is currently the media officer of Rivers Hoopers and the Nigerian Zenith Basketball League.

She covers Basketball, Tennis, Women football and has Featured on BBC, Super Sport, AWATV, AfroSport, VOA and ACL Sports.

Latifat Adebayo-Ohio

Latifat Adebayo-Ohio is a sports journalist and sports Content producer. known for her passion for Tennis, Pro Wrestling, American Football & Table-Tennis and has covered multiple sports events including the Olympics and the commonwealth games.

Latifat Adebayo-Ohio

Phatill as she’s popularly known is passionate about the creative use of social media in creating unique sports content.

She is the media officer of the International Table Tennis Federation – Africa, and has more than 10 years experience as a self-taught multimedia sports content producer.

She often has says this personal quote “I believe everyone has a story, telling those in sport gives me joy… everytime.”

Oluchi Tobe-Chukwu

Oluchi Tobe-Chukwu, also known as tobex, is the Vice Chairman of the Lagos Chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria. She is also the Super Falcons of Nigeria’s media spokesperson.

Oluchi Tobe-Chukwu

She is a female football writer who has won several awards. Tobex is also a former footballer who had the honor of representing Hamza Queens in the first NFF-organized women’s league in 1990.

Her last active football club was Ibom Angels, where she paved the way for furthering her education years ago.

She is a Federal Government scholar with a degree in mass communication, a second degree in public relations, and a third degree in advertising (Communication Studies).

Mfon Udoka

Mfon Sunday Udoka is a former Nigerian professional basketball player who now works as an assistant coach for the D’Tigress, the country’s women’s national basketball team.

Mfon Ndoka

Udoka was born in Portland, Oregon, and attended Benson Polytechnic High School from 1994 to 1998 before enrolling at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. Ime Udoka, a former NBA player and coach, is her sister.

Udoka led Nigeria’s women’s national basketball team to the Summer Olympics in 2004. She finished second in the tournament in scoring and rebounding at the Olympics, but Nigeria finished 11th out of 12 teams. They became the first African team to win
an Olympic game. Udoka also led Nigeria to a 16th-place finish at the 2006 FIBA World
Championship for Women.

She was then appointed as the new Assistant Coach for the Nigeria women’s national basketball team D’Tigress as they prepare for the African Nations Cup in Mali and the All Africa Games in May 2011.

Ogechukwukanma Ogwo

Ogechukwukanma Ogwo is a Nigerian radio broadcaster and presenter she is currently the Head of Programmes Sports Radio Brila Fm Lagos.

Ogechukwukanma Ogwo

Having previously worked as a presenter at Raypower FM. Her journey with Sports Radio Brila FM in Lagos, Nigeria started in August 2003 where she has hosted several shows on Brila FM such as ‘Whistles Of The Night’, ‘The Afternoon Blazing Drive’, ‘Top 8 Countdown’, ‘The Sunday Morning Show’ and ‘The Super Morning show.

Her sojourn into sports broadcasting have also seen her host a number of sports programs such as ‘The afternoon show’, ‘The Lunch Hour Sports Cruise’, ‘Fans corner’ and ‘Saturday Breakfast Show’ and sport stars who have been on her show include Obafemi Martins, John Fashanu, Taiye Taiwo and Abedi Pele.

She is a recipient of the Nigerian Broadcasters Merit Awards after she won the female categories of the “Most Popular Sports Radio Presenter” and “Best Sportscaster on Radio” in 2012 and 2016 respectively.

Blessing Anorh

Blessing Ekpekpan Anorh aka Breezy is a Nigerian Radio Broadcaster and Presenter with Sports Radio Brila fm, she co-hosts Popular Area show, Area Sunset show and Fans Corner.

Blessing Anorh

She is from Delta state and has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Ibadan, popularly know as the Radio Browny and Sports chic, she presents in both English and Pidgin language.

She started her radio career in 2015 with Eko fm and worked herself up the radio broadcasting chain, her love for sports prompted her to create a sports blog, she also also featured on Sport talk shows on Top Radio and R2TV, she joined Brila Media in 2020 and has gone on to be amongst the most followed sports Radio presenter in Lagos Nigeria.

Chisom Mmbonu

Chisom Mbonu-Ezeoke was popularly known as “the football girl” among her friends in Enugu, Nigeria and after finishing her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Abuja, she worked three years in sales and marketing before joining the FIFA agent licensing program.

Chisom Mbonu

At a sporting event Chisom met the head of SuperSport Nigeria and after a successful meeting she was hired as the first female soccer analyst on the SuperSport network. After two years as an analyst and basketball presenter, she began anchoring coverage of Spain’s La Liga and the English Premier League. A decade later, she remains the only female anchor for SuperSport Nigeria.

Chisom is very passionate about the children and hosts a show, Let’s Play, where she and her team travel to communities around the Nigeria to introduce sports to children in partnership with national federations and coaches.

In 2016, she founded Akoni TV, an online storytelling platform that she seeks to use to empower and teach women how to produce, edit, and write scripts for their own sports stories.

Janine Anthony

Janine is the Sports and Gaming Partnerships Lead for Africa at TikTok. She is managing historically one of the fastest-growing social media platforms content partnerships in Sports, Media and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Janine Anthony

She is founder and Editor-in-Chief of a Pan-African website Ladies March. She is also the African Football Expert at Sky Sports News.

Janine is an award-winning multi-skilled professional with almost a decade experience in Broadcasting, Publishing, Sports and Digital Media Start-Ups, Management, as well as 13 years total in Business, Retail, Marketing, Communications, working with and contributing for companies such as the BBC, the English Premier League, FIFA, YouTube, The Guardian UK and others.

She founded Ladies March, Africa’s first all-women Women’s Soccer network and is the BBC World Service’s first African female commentator at a Major Men’s football tournament.

Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam

Chibogwu Nnadiegbulam is currently a multimedia sports journalist and editor with AIPS Media, the media outlet of the International Sports Press Association. AIPS has a website and a quarterly magazine. She joined AIPS Media from Today 95.1 FM Port Harcourt.

Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam

Her sports journalism journey began around a decade ago in July 2013, a month after she had finished NYSC, when she joined 91.7 Radio Port Harcourt (which is now Wave FM) as an intern.

Prior to that she used to analyse football on Cool FM 95.9 Port Harcourt during her last two years at the University of Port Harcourt.

Alongside being a sports producer, presenter and analyst on radio, her career also features appearances on TV as an analyst, as well as bylines on local and international websites.

In 2016, she participated in the AIPS Young Reporters Programme at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan and that was a life-changing opportunity. Since then she has covered two Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, UEFA Women’s European Championship (also as an AIPS YR in 2017), FIFA Women’s World Cup, two World Athletics Championships, World Urban Games, UEFA Women’s Champions League final and two Olympic Games (PyeongChang 2018 and Tokyo 2020). And she has had the opportunity of interviewing notable sports personalities including IOC President Thomas Bach.

She is very passionate about promoting women’s sports and women in sports through her work and have also moderated panel discussions around the subject. She is the Managing Editor of LadiesMarch, a women’s football media platform that amplifies the voices of African football heroines.

Mimi Fawaz

Mimi Fawaz is a Nigerian-Lebanese sports journalist, show host, and presenter who currently works as a sports presenter on BBC World News Focus on Africa, as well as BBC Africa and BBC Sports.

Mimi Fawaz

Her resume includes work for CNN, ESPN, and ITV Television networks. In January of 2017, she co-hosted the 2016 GLO-CAF Awards with popular Nigerian actor Richard Mofe- Damijo, also known as (R.M.D).

She graduated from the City University of London, where she pursued a master’s degree in journalism.

Fawaz has interviewed several high-profile African figures, including former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, Namadi Sambo, former Nigerian Vice-President, Nigerian music duo P-Square, and former African football players Kanu Nwankwo and Didier Drogba.

Fawaz is fluent in English and French. She has done charitable work, including assisting SOS Children’s Villages with funds for the construction of orphanages and other projects in African countries.

Debola Adebanjo

Debola Adebanjo is a multifaceted sports communications professional with a decade of experience engaging audiences across multiple platforms and currently bridging the gap between athletes and brands through storytelling, digital media, marketing, communications, and partnerships.

Debola Adebanjo

She accomplished all of this while covering sports in Africa for the British Broadcasting Cooperative for four years.

During her time there, she reported, presented, and produced both underreported and mainstream stories about African athletes, and it is only fitting that I have continued on this journey with FIFPRO – the global football players union.

She began her career at the BBC in 2012, where she worked as a freelance presenter, analyst, and reporter, primarily curating independent content for radio, television, and social media, a rewarding adventure.

She is also very interested in creating useful services and products that people require. She wants to launch Story Inn, a podcast production company aimed at ‘telling African stories that touch.

Justina Aniefiok

Justina Aniefiok is an international multiple award-winning sports photojournalist. She is accredited by the Confederation of African Football and the world football governing body, FIFA.

Justina Aniefiok

She is an embodiment of what would be said to be sheer hard work and a never-say-die attitude. She has covered many world sporting events. She at one time played football but could not follow up her dream to be an international football star based on some reasons not far from its peculiarities with many big dreamers in the country, but she maintained her love for sports and found a passion in sports journalism through pictures and storytelling.

She aspires to be the first Nigerian sports female photojournalist to cover the UEFA Champions League. It would not be long based on her career trajectory, which personifies the true spirit of the Nigerian woman.

Aisha Falode

Aisha Falode is the current president of the Nigerian Women’s Football League as inaugurated by the Nigerian Football Federation in January 2017.

Aisha Falode

She was the chairman of Nassarawa Amazons, an NWFL side. She has been a visionary head of activities for women’s football in the country and much of the successes recorded by domestic football for the girl child can be alluded to by this visionary leader.

She is a graduate of mass communication and is a journalist with radio and television experience. Aisha Falode ran for the presidency seat of the Nigerian Football Federation last year, 2022.

She gave a fight as the only woman to vie for the post.

Hon. Ayo Omidiran

Ayo Omidiran is a veteran administrator of women’s football in Nigeria.

Hon Ayo Omidiran

She held prominent political positions in her native Osun State house of assembly, including being the deputy chairman of the house committee on sports, a member of the House Committee on Judiciary, Communications, Interior, Solid Minerals, Women Affairs and Women in Parliament.

She joined the board of the Nigerian Football Association in 2002 and served there until 2005. She has been a part of the FIFA Women Committee since 2006. In 1997, she took over as owner of Omidiran Babes, a female football team in Osogbo, Osun State.

She was chosen to lead the Women’s Football Committee of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) in 2017.

Prof. Mariam Suleiman

Professor Mariam Suleman is the current president of the Association of Nigerian Women In Sports (NAWIS) as elected last year.

She was a board member of the Nigeria Cricket Federation, but much more than the sport, she is a major force amongst many who promote the inclusion of Women in not only participating in sports in general but active administration of sports too.

Prof. Suleiman is a staunch supporter of civic engagement and ethical leadership. Via her platform, she supports Sustainable Development Goals and fights for a better society (SDGs).

She is also a member of The International Council for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sports, and Dancing (HPER-SC) and the Nigeria Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sports, and Dance (NAPHER-SD) (ICHPER-SD). She belongs to the Nigerian Red Cross Organization as well (NRCS).

Prof. Bola Adeyanju

Prof Florence Bola Adeyanju is a Nigerian scholar and physical education educator.

she is a member Nigerian Association University Women (public relations officer 1988–1992), Women in Nigeria, Women in Law and Development (Nigeria), National Council Women Societies, Nigerian Association Women in Sports (initiator, founder, president since 1990, 1995 Sports Award), Sport Psychology Association Nigeria (zonal coordinator since 1986).

She is one of the very first sets of women who advocated for inclusion in sports and in administration.

She remains relevant in every conversation concerning women’s sports in the country even to date because she has been a force of nature in the women’s sphere of sports in the country.

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