Brave Gladiators senior coach, Jacqueline Shipanga, told The Villager that Namibian sports women are only given half the opportunities availed to their male counterparts, which has slowed the progress of female representation in Namibian sports.
She said this after Namibia hosted the 18th African Women in Sports Association (AWISA) and Namibia Women in Sports Association (NAWISA) games.
“As an example, we do not have as many activities as the male coaches. The existence of the Namibia Premier League, the NFA Cup, the Bidvest Cup, the pre- season Hage Geingob Cup, all this gives the male players more opportunities to play; to be trained; develop; and seen by foreign based coaches and gain opportunity to play professional football”, Shipanga told The Villager.
This means that the development for the girl child is not attended to as much as that of the male child, something which Shipanga said is a challenge which that also affects the pace at which Namibia grows it female coaches.
“If the Hage Geingob Cup, COSAFA Cup and NFA Cup also does not make provision for the girl child, how can we develop at the rate that the male child is developing? When it comes to tax we all pay. It doesn’t discriminate but when it comes to investing in sports, all of a sudden more money is invested in the male sports”, Shipanga said.
Shipanga pointed out that the inequality can be noticed in the representation on the Board of Directors for the Namibia Football Association (NFA), which only consist of one female board member.
“Currently we have Alma Mupupa, previously we had Julien Garises and before that Jackey Gertze. I think we deserve more women on the board considering the development that has taken part in the women’s game”, she said.
According to Shipanga, because of the few opportunities available to sportswomen, as compared to sportsmen, women would be more discouraged to participate or grow an interest in sports in Namibia.
The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), has contributed to the development of girls in sports through the Gals and Goals Club which has placed Namibia above many African countries in the development of young girls in sports.
“We are leaving it up to MTC, UNICEF and non-governmental organisations to develop our nation, which is very unfortunate. Our government should wake up and smell the coffee, and say that if we really claim that women play an important role in our lives, that somehow school sports should be introduced as a matter of urgency”, she added.
Federation International Football Association also played a role in raising awareness and promoting of the gender equality through the development of women’s football in Namibia. FIFA has introduced coaching courses in order to encourage women to take up sport coaching.
According to Shipanga the actions that FIFA has taken is evident when it appointed a female secretary general. She also added that women should find ways to motivate themselves and take up opportunities, placing emphasis on creating deliberate opportunities and investment for the girl child.
“Organisations should make deliberate efforts to make the conditions suitable for any women to excel, but if we are always going to be negative then women will also decide that that is an area they are not going to venture into”, said Shipanga.
She added, that the notion that women in sports have a great and positive future needs female leaders to have the upper hand in making a difference in the development of sports and gender equality aspects. Women should advocate for the development of the girl child for equal opportunities as the male child in Namibia.
Sports codes for women, such as hockey netball and volleyball needs sponsorships in order to grow.