If you randomly ask any human to point out one ‘male sport’, football will be the first on the list. Why? It is mostly played by men, watched by men, the famous players are men, the sports officials are men, in short, it is ‘a man’s game’.
“Soccer is no doubt a man’s game, I play soccer myself ,if you take a good look at my legs, they are full of scars, I just imagine if I was a girl and had to put on skirts or dresses, my legs would scare even the bravest man into hiding,” said Richard Bayingana, 28 years, an architect by profession.
Alex Mudenge, a second year student at Kigali Institute of Education, believes women have the wrong motive for playing soccer.
“Soccer is a rough game for the jagged gender, but when we tell girls and women this, they take it as a sign of inequality. Women don’t play soccer for the love of it; they just want to prove to us that ‘what-a-man-can-do-a-woman-can-do’, we do respect our women, they don’t have to prove their worth by having clammy bodies and broken limbs, I guess they are taking this gender thing a little too far,” Mudenge said.
However, most women soccer players beg to differ. They insist that soccer is a game that means so much to them as it gives them a chance to express themselves and their abilities.
Grace Nyinawumuntu, the coach of AS Kigali, a women football club, said,“ like our male counterparts it’s our right to play soccer or any other game we want. In fact, men should back us up because the profit girls and women get from soccer and other games rain down on them too.”
Nyinawumuntu said that for the women, soccer is more than just a game.
“It’s a way towards unity and reconciliation, it helps us interconnect with other women allover the world, it keeps us healthy mentally and physically, ‘healthy minds resides in a healthy body’, not forgetting the financial gain as well,” she added.
It turns out that football is much more popular with women than you might think. Statistics shows that 1.4 million girls and women play soccer in the UK only, and 26 million women and girls play football globally.