Nyoni rallies Northern Region women’s football Minister of Industry and Commerce- Sithembiso Nyoni

Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter

THE Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development, Sithembiso Nyoni, who is the co-patron of Northern Region Women’s Football says she is happy about renewed and ambitious effort being taken by the Northern Region Women’s Football to empower the girl child through sport.

She said this during the launch and official draw of the inaugural Northern Region Women’s Football School of Excellence Selection Tournament on Saturday evening at the National Sports Stadium.

Minister Nyoni and her co-patron Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Paul Mavima, attended the launch.

A number of corporate companies, including the likes of Blue Ribbon Foods, National Building Society, National Foods, NSSA, Moonlight Funeral Services and Schweppes, were present at the function.

“I find a very close and natural affinity between the work that the Northern Region is doing and the work that we do as a Ministry responsible for women empowerment, gender equality and community development,” said Nyoni.

“As you are aware, this tournament is aimed at selecting the best talent in the Region which shall receive extensive training in football and life skills from technical experts drawn from different private and public sectors aimed at empowering the selected young talented girls.

“From the onset, let me assure you that I am personally very happy about this renewed and ambitious effort being taken by the Northern Region Women’s Football to empower the girl child through sport.

“I am aware of the great potential of football, as a tool for women’s emancipation and community development. I am therefore enthusiastic about this collaboration that we have embarked on with the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation and the Northern Region Women’s Football in harnessing this great potential for the greater good of the girl child and our communities at large,” said Nyoni.

The Minister also rallied behind the sponsors that are supporting the two Ministers.

“To our esteemed sponsors, I wish to say welcome on board. Some of you started with us when we did the fundraising dinner a few weeks ago. Some of you have joined us today, and others are considering joining us. You are all most welcome. There is room for all of us to make our contribution to this game-changing initiative. There is an African proverb that says “If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.” We definitely want to go far.

Much further beyond the Northern Region. We want women’s football in Zimbabwe to strive. So, let us go together. Let us empower the girl child. Let us help the girl child to play and to shine,” said Nyoni.

The Northern Region is in an ambitious drive to identify and groom players that will widen the selection pool for the national teams.

The School of Excellency will identify players that will start by playing in a tournament scheduled for next week at Alex Sports Club.

The region will also conduct periodic camps during the school holidays. And these camps will not only train football skills but will also equip the girl child with information relating to the dangers of early pregnancy and drug and substance abuse.

Minister Nyoni said they are eager to help women overcome barriers and prejudices.

“I am keenly aware of the great challenges that our women footballers face as they pursue their burning passion for football and their lofty dreams of becoming international superstars. To begin with, women are coming from a history of economic, social and cultural subornation. A history wherein their role was confined to the kitchen. As such, as we seek to achieve women’s social and economic emancipation, we must overcome several barriers and prejudices.

“We have to work extra hard to bring women football and women footballers at par with their male counterparts. I am therefore happy that this initiative has managed to elicit a positive response from a diversity of stakeholders. I have no doubt that if we tap into each other’s comparative advantages, experience and expertise, we will definitely succeed in bringing women’s football in Zimbabwe to greater heights,” said Nyoni.

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