Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
GLOW Petroleum coach Perpetua Siyachitema has challenged fellow women to take up coaching in netball as the sport has remained male dominated in that area.
Netball, primarily a women’s sport, has remained female dominated over the years despite men also showing interest and taking up the sport in terms of playing.
However, locally it appears women are more comfortable as players but when it comes to coaching the numbers are still low with most clubs led by men.
Siyachitema got a token of appreciation for being the only female head coach in the Rainbow Amateur Netball League and she led her side to finishing fifth this season.
“I am just worried about the other females especially those who used to play netball. I was hoping those people would consider coaching because netball is a female sport. But if you check the executive is full of men and the coaches are men, which is not good.
“We need women, we need to go for courses to empower ourselves. They (courses) are there in South Africa, in Botswana. I travelled just to do those courses. We need to stand up as women because netball is our sport, it’s our game,” Siyachitema said.
Siyachitema said women need to change their mindset regarding the socially constructed gender-roles whereby women usually play second fiddle to men.
“What I think is as women sometimes we just want to stay home and wait for the husband to bring something. So we have that mentality that there should be a man leading us. We don’t believe in ourselves, these teams look for coaches but no one wants to take up the job and they then opt for men.
“Female coaches are needed but that mentality that there should be a men leading and we don’t take up leading positions needs to go. Let’s attend courses and equip ourselves. It’s not that difficult, it can be done online,” said Siyachitema.
The former national senior team captain lamented the current bickering between the Zimbabwe Netball Association and RANL which has created divisions in netball and stalls the growth of the sport.
“Unfortunately because of what has been happening in netball, we are divided because courses should come from the national association. But I hope soon things will be okay, we need to do those courses,” Siyachitema said.
Correctional Queens assistant coach, Faith Matanganyidze, said lack of confidence is the biggest enemy for women in netball and lack of qualifications as well.
“Personally looking at this, since way back male coaches have always dominated in netball. We (women) don’t have the confidence. We look down upon ourselves to say can I lead? We are not confident enough to be in charge.
“I believe if we can build confidence in women, have confidence building training classes it can help us to have more female coaches in netball.
“We need to come together to empower the girl child and for the girl child to rise they need our support as fellow women.
“Most women are in umpiring, coaching they are not keen because they feel inferior to men. So we need the confidence so that we can compete with men. There are courses I went to and you would find more men there than women. So I think the issue of qualifications also comes in, some don’t have the qualifications,” said Matanganyidze.
The former Correctional Queens player said for her, Christopher Simeon has been influential on her career and admits she has learnt a lot under his mentorship preparing her for the future.
She, however, pointed out that culture also contributes in holding women back.
“I saw that society and culture that’s in African culture even when it’s something for females, men are always asked to lead. And as women also sometimes we fail to work together on our own and culture contributes to that.
“We need to encourage and educate women that they can do it. We have seen female vice presidents, female ministers. So we have to do it ourselves and take the leading role,” said Matanganyidze.
Following the announcement by Glow Petroleum, the sponsor at the RANL awards recently, that for next year they are looking at a robust approach that would also see some funds being channelled towards the development of officials.
And hopes would be more women take the opportunity to equip themselves with the knowledge and skills to take the leading role in netball.