The battle of the Zambezi or the battle of Victoria Falls as some might want to term it provided a sharp contrast on how gender insensitively Zimbabwean football is run. The Phillip Chiyangwa led Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has been at the centre of controversy on how female footballers are treated as compared to their male counterparts.
Here I outline the most problematic matters affecting our favourite band of girls in the beautiful game!
Preparations for the Mighty Warriors’ games have often been chaotic, disjointed and ridiculous at best. The Coach, Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda revealed that after the Lusaka win, the technical department had noticed the team’s lack of endurance as a potential threat. Outlining the need for more friendlies. As compared to how their male counterparts had beaten the Zambian Chipolopolo, the mighty warriors have made sure it is a mixed fortune bag for the teams representing the country.
Lack of Representation
The ZIFA board has been such a let-down. The biased support for national teams has to stop as its causing poor performances and tension within the teams. The ZIFA hierarchy does not even seem to have female representation. Sadly, last such a notable female stood in the hierarchy, she did the unthinkable, betraying the nation in the largely articulated Asiagate scandal.
Henrietta Rushwaya, may she never set foot in football ever again!
Of course, this would be a petty justification for the non-existence of Female presentation in the deciding roles of ZIFA.
Beyond Belief Remuneration
Lest we forget the $5 amounts that were given to the then just returned team from the Olympic Games team. Countless times the women warriors have not been paid and whenever Zifa feel generous enough, the payments have been utter insults and this, no doubt, dampens the morale in the camp.
There were reports that, at some point, the girls were each given $5 after winning a qualifying match against Namibia, and there is no way they could have delivered when the odds were stacked against them.
This $5 really seems to be the standard.
The Invisible Mighty Warriors Brand
There is notable absenteeism from the corporate world. Or is it we don’t even know of their (Mighty Warriors) existence. What is ZIFA doing to market the ladies team as they are with male counterparts? The answer is a big NOTHING! Where are the largely pompous and noisy Wicknell Chivhayos of this world when the ladies need them? Extinct I’d presume.
ZIFA has almost literally been unbothered by the Mighty Warriors. This has been proven each time the girls went for assignments as an ill-prepared display. We surely can do better than just murmuring gender equality when we can’t start it from the grassroots.
Lest we forget, unlike our highly overrated and spoilt Warriors team, the ladies have at least made it to a global showpiece, the Olympics, were they made a name for themselves with fancy celebrations and hairstyle.
Oh, what a memory that was!
The world won’t forget how they dazzled them even in football jerseys that looked like they’d been sewn under a Msasa tree back home. Surely ZIFA can do better for a team flying the national flag. My call is on the girl child to be supported equally as their male counterparts. We await that time and that hopefully, it won’t be too long. Till then we chant.