Nigerian entrepreneur, Nneka Ede, has become the first Nigerian woman to acquire a club in Europe.
Ms Ede’s acquisition of Portuguese club, Lusitano Ginásio Clube, Futebol, SAD, was announced last Friday. It was well celebrated and an official statement announcing her takeover claimed she was the first African woman to buy a European club.
However, it is now confirmed that in 2017, Akosua Puni Essien, wife of former Ghana international, Michael Essien, reportedly paid 237,000 euros (£206,000) at an auction to acquire Italian club, Como, who were a third-tier team three years ago.
PREMIUM TIMES’ findings also revealed that Mrs Esssien’s ownership of Como was short-lived and the club is now owned by an Indonesian consortium, Djarum Group.
This effectively makes Ms Ede the only Africa woman who currently owns a European club.
Lusitano competes in the Campeonato de Portugal, the third division of Portugal’s football pyramid and Ms Ede took over ownership of the 108-year-old club in June 2020.
She said: “I am excited about this opportunity and I hope that this new chapter will deepen the already great sporting relations between Nigeria and Portugal, continue with the rich history of Lusitano club and provide a pathway for young talent to develop and shine through.”
A statement from the club said: “After months of negotiations with different entities, an agreement has been reached with Mrs Nneka Ede, a sports enthusiast and entrepreneur from Nigeria, a country filled with people as passionate and fiery about football as us and which incidentally share the same green and white in their flags, towards the transfer of the ownership of the SAD to the latter that will help us in our mission to take Lusitano to the next level.”
Ms Ede is the second Nigerian to purchase a Portuguese club after businessman Kunle Soname bought Clube Desportivo Feirense in 2015.
Founded on November 11, 1911, by a group of high school and commercial school youngsters, Lusitano – derived from Lusitania, the Roman name for the province corresponding to the current territory of Portugal, south of the Douro river and to the modern-day Spanish region of Extremadura – competed in Portugal’s topflight for the first time in the 1952–53 season finishing in seventh position.
The club enjoyed a relatively successful period in the 1950s and 1960s and spent 14 consecutive seasons in the Primeira Divisão earning an impressive 5th place in 1956/57, and reaching the semi-finals of the Taça de Portugal twice.
They were relegated in 1966 and have never competed in Portugal’s top flight ever since but they hold a proud record of being in the top 30 of teams with the most presences in the Portuguese topflight.