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Friday, 7 January, 2000, 19:33 GMT
Nigerian state 'bans' women's football
Nigeria are Africa's top female side
Women's football has reportedly been banned by the authorities in Nigeria's north-west state of Zamfara, following the recent imposition of Islamic Sharia law.

The state director of sport Shehu Gusau was quoted as saying that women playing football was "unislamic".

"The sport is against the teachings of Islam," he added.

He also said state officials intended to build a new sports stadium with separate stands for men and women.

Falcon's fly the flag

Women's football is growing in popularity in Nigeria, with the Falcons, the women's national side, being the current African champions

They have also qualified for the Sydney Olympics after reaching the quarter-finals of last year's Women's World Cup in the United States.

They play in a four-nation invitational tournament in Hong Kong between 14-21 January.

Sharia fears

The declaration of sharia law in Zamfara state last year sparked fears that it would be imposed on non-Muslims, despite assurances from the state authorities.

The north of Nigeria is overwhelmingly Muslim but many Christians, who form the majority in the south of Nigeria, are passionately opposed to the introduction of sharia, saying it will undermine the country's stability.

Sharia laws include punishments such as amputation for those convicted of theft and flogging for those caught drinking alcohol.

See also:

11 Jul 99 | Football
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