In a world where male football is the most dominant and recognized, coaching a female team with no sponsors or motivation may be a bit of a problem for some people.
However, there are men who have taken it upon their shoulders to fight for its recognition as well as its mandate to be fulfilled.
Surprisingly though, the same ladies end up being called for national duties whilst in their league teams they seem not to be given the attention and support they deserve.
Prisons ladies football club manager, Kabo Gareitse, has said there are several challenges that they are faced with in trying to mould and push the professional and academic lives of these youngsters.
He said: “We are concerned with lack of resources or funds, we need specific equipments for optimal performance and conditioning of our players, and they are nowhere to be found. We end up resorting to running them to achieve our set goals.”
“There is normally lack of special first aid kit as our players may at times get their monthly period at awkward times and are not ready for that, we have to be able to assist them accordingly. Our girl child needs to be taken care of, and as a male at times this might be challenging, however, we give it our level best to assist them and be the deputy parent,” Gareitse opined.
He further added that there is lack of support from the mother body which is Botswana Football Association (BFA) adding that they somehow do not want men to be running female teams yet they are owned by them. He said “They do not support women football but they wish to have women national teams, at our expense.”
When asked on how they tackled such challenges, Gareitse opined that in the issue of lack of equipment they engage players with several drills on the pitch, as well as assisting them with whatever they need and encouraging them to always be prepared especially when going for trips.
He said “As a club, to curb our financial needs we have resorted to raising funds for the club so we can acquire the basics that we need.”
“As a club we are a family away from home, when a player leaves their home they have come to another family, hence we encourage them to work together and treat each other as they would want to be treated by their fellow mate, hence a relaxed atmosphere for the ladies off the pitch whilst at the pitch is business. Off the field we are a relaxed family you will not believe that we are with our players,” Gareitse added.
Moreover, Gareitse added that the players are always respectful to them at all times, adding that they just don’t give them instructions but come up with ideas and sell to them.
He said “Last time we went to Eswatini, we came up with ideas to raise funds, and they took it upon themselves and came up with a price for the person who will raise more money. Even on regional trips they are always obedient hence we have built a very healthy relationship with their parents who have entrusted us with their girl children and the responsibility lies with us to protect them.”
“I am proud of players, especially their resilience and no die attitude, they believe as a club we can achieve anything, and we continue to show that as we have previously won the international festive tournament twice in a row, and we intend to defend it in the next edition,” he added.
In conclusion Gareitse opined that their way forward is to take from where they left off in the previous season, and hopefully prepare for competing in CAF championship.
According to UB Kicks’ assistant coach Alex Malete, for them as men leading women football teams they are swamped with several challenges, which normally run across most clubs.
“Our biggest challenge is the belief that women football teams should be led and administered by women,” he observed.
“We have tried to show that men too are capable of leading and producing female players who can be able to even serve in national teams with the skills they acquire from our clubs. Plus it needs to be proven that positions should be held on merit not on gender based roles as that will curb women football progression,” Malete continued.
He further added that almost eighty percent of women football in the country are owned and coached by men, and that is a good sign that men too can protect and nurture a girl child.
“I have always had a great relationship with my players; we can talk about anything together hence building trust and great communication skills in them. They are able to distinguish me being a coach in the field as well as off the pitch, and the respect I get is out of this world, I am very happy with our relationship even at national team level,” Malete opined.
Malete further added that even in taking instructions he always gets the message through and it is followed with no questions.
He said: “As for parents, we constantly keep in touch with them, even when we realize something disturbing about the kid, so that we can work together and get the desired results from our players, even to compliment the kids to the parents so that they can be proud of their child too.”
“As a coach you feel proud when you have taught someone something, and they are doing it well and achieving what you have taught them. We are confident that with time all our cries will be heard and answered, in the mean time we shall continue transforming the girl child into professional and academic athletes,” Malete said.