Zimbabwe: Fire Queens dribbling towards their dreams

Zimbabwe: Fire Queens dribbling towards their dreams

Date: May 27, 2013
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Harare, May 27: It is half-time and the Fire Queens are leading 2-0 in a division-two match against Support Unit. After losing their earlier league match against Rental, the stakes are high and the Queens are passing with passion. Playing on home ground at Chichera Plot, they are set on driving the ball into the back of the net to secure a win.

Half time normally cues a refreshment break for players and debrief by the coach. After 45 minutes of high adrenaline dribbling, the players offer refreshments to their babies.

Fire Queens football team member, Norest Humbani, takes a break from the pitch at half time to see to her daughter Nyarai, during a league match held at Chichera Plot, Zimbabwe. Photo: Grace ChirumanzuFire Queens coach, Crispern Gomo says that although the team is inexperienced, he is impressed by their determination and commitment. “The whole team is made up of very strong women who keep pushing themselves during the game and at training.”

Gomo formed the Fire Queens team in 2011 after realising his netball team was more interested in playing football. These fiery women demonstrate that women have and manage multiple roles. “Their zeal keeps giving me a reason to want to help them and they have inspired me a lot. I am planning to work on getting a level-one coaching certificate,” said Gomo.

Fire Queens’ captain and goalkeeper Sheila Gomo, loves that she and her husband share the same interest in football. “I enjoy it a lot because it is something we do as a family. When it comes to chores at home, my husband and I work as a team. He helps with the cooking and tidying the house so that we get to training and matches on time. We believe if we continue working hard, football can be a way to earn a living for this community,” explains Gomo.

Team defender, Catherine Takarindwa, explains why she loves the game, “I started playing football at school back in 2003, but unfortunately the team disbanded. I was happy when I heard about the Fire Queens. I knew that was going to be my next team. Playing soccer helps me stay strong and I feel at home with the team. They are my second family,” she said.

Takarindwa’s husband supports her soccer career. He enjoys watching matches with their children and gives her helpful tips, “My husband has become my second coach. He comments on how I play and is so encouraging,” says Takarindwa.

Norest Humbani trained up to the first month of the second trimester of her pregnancy. She resumed training four months after giving birth to Nyara, her 14-month-old daughter. “I just could not stop or stay away for a long time. It is a good way of exercising and I love how we can actually show case our skills. I think I can go very far and play at a higher level.”

Humbani explains that men in the community have begun to take women’s soccer more seriously and show support for the Fire Queens. Unfortunately, the perception that soccer is a man’s game persists. Their club and many other female sports teams in general face financial difficulties.

Programme Officer for Grass-Roots Soccer Zimbabwe, Linderrose Moyo explains that lack of sponsorship is a problem across the sporting world. Despite the incredible talent among female sportswomen, funding remains a major problem and women do not receive the same support and remuneration as men.

“We need to promote women’s soccer just as we do men’s soccer. We can do this through gender mainstreaming, involving men and creating synergy between male and female soccer boards. This could help revive women’s soccer and change people’s perspectives so sponsorship and viewership can increase,” explains Moyo.

The Fire Queens cover all their own expenses. Jessie Majome a community leader in Harare West, recently sponsored transport fares. “They need support. I believe they can rise and make great impact for that community. They are committed to playing soccer and it is so inspiring,” she said.

The game may not be putting food on the table yet, but these women are putting empowerment in the penalty area. With their eyes on the ball and babies in sight, the Fire queens are uniting the community and sending a message to men and women across the region that women can breakaway, up their possession and tally up goals in a male dominated arena.

Grace Chirumanzu is a freelance journalist in Zimbabwe. This article is part of the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service that provides fresh views on everyday news.


0 thoughts on “Zimbabwe: Fire Queens dribbling towards their dreams”

Flo says:

Thanks for a beautiful story that shows the will of this women who play football. I hope that they will soon get sponsorship.

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