HAVING been involved in women’s football as a coach and witnessing some of the challenges female athletes face, including lack of support, former Mighty Warriors coach Shadreck Mlauzi believes there is more those in charge of sport can do to create a level playing field.
Although Zimbabwe’s women in sport have over the years proved themselves, producing results, sometimes under difficult circumstances, there is still need to create a supporting environment and structures that will complement their efforts.
Mlauzi was in charge of the Mighty Warriors when they made their maiden appearance at the Olympics in 2016 and led the team for the Africa Cup of Nations in the same year.
Retracing his footsteps on the time he spent with the team, the successes and obstacles, the former Mighty Warriors coach urged the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation to champion issues to do with women in sport so that they also get the support and respect they deserve.
Mlauzi believes with Minister Kirsty Coventry, a former athlete herself, in charge of the ministry, things could change for the better if the ministry also pays attention to issues to do with equity and fairness in resource distribution.
“At the present moment we are blessed as a nation we have Kirsty Coventry, who now I believe should have looked into those issues by now.
“She came into office, there were a lot of issues that were raised during the period of her predecessor, naturally as you come on board these are the problematic issues that you must confront head-on as the incumbent Minister of Sport to really make sure that you address those grey areas that are there.
“So a lot really needs to be done to change that mentality but I think policies have to be crafted. The Minister of Sport, personally I would challenge her really to address this issue.
“They are blessed, they are fortunate they have the human resource that is quite capable of reviving the system and bringing back those glory days,” Mlauzi said.
The former Mighty Warriors coach lamented the state of the structures for women’s football due to lack of support, a scenario he said usually leaves the coaches in a tight spot when they are expected to produce results for international assignments without proper supporting systems in place.
“I honestly pity (Sithethelelwe Sibanda) Kwinji at this point in time because when there is an assignment she has to shoulder most of the responsibility, but the nation has done very little for her, there are no structures at all,” added Mlauzi.