FAN GIRLS…Women’s love of football rattles men

29 Oct, 2022 - 00:10 0 Views
FAN GIRLS…Women’s love of football rattles men Michelle Moyo

The Chronicle

Brandon Moyo, Sports Reporter

FOOTBALL used to be a game reserved for men and boys, it was a sport constructed as a true bastion of virility, expressed both in the practice of the sport as well as in the stands, bars and media commentary on the game, but times are changing with women and girls now occupying the previously exclusive male spaces.

Not only are women playing the game, but they are also now emotionally attached to European clubs. They even put on the jerseys of their favourite teams with English clubs such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool being the most supported.

Manchester United

Saturday Chronicle managed to speak to a few women who defied the “football isn’t for women” stereotype and decided to fall in love with the game.

Most of the ladies, at some point, have been taken for men for their knowledge of the game as most of their male counterparts believe that they have little or no knowledge of the sport. A Manchester United fan, Nkazimulo Khumalo said she has suffered in WhatsApp groups where she has been mistaken for a man and at one point was asked to leave the group.

Michelle Moyo

“My contribution and analysis of the game have often led to me being mistaken for a man in some social media football groups because some people assume that women do not know the game.

“I recently had an encounter in one of the groups where one of the members expressed his displeasure about my presence in it because I am a woman, it was, however, touching when other male members stood up for me. Apart from that, I have made a lot of friends because of my love for football,” said Nkazimulo.

Nkazimulo Khumalo

Nkazimulo fell in love with the Red Devils back in 2000 at just seven years old with David Beckham being her inspiration and her passion for the team grew from there even after Beckham left the club. With some of her relatives supporting rival teams, Nkazimulo says that has never affected them in any way as the diversity makes their relationship interesting.

“It is my family and friends whom I share my football journey with and some of them support rival teams like Liverpool and Manchester City it does not impact my relationship with them negatively, it makes the journey more interesting to love diverse teams,” she said.

Nkazimulo is not the only female fan to have suffered at the hands of men in social media groups due to her knowledge of the game. Judith Mangoya, a Chelsea fan from as far back as 1995 said many of the opposite sex hate it when a woman out-argues them in social media groups.

“Many of the opposite sex don’t believe it much when you lay bare facts on tactical moves or give an opinion towards any move in the team. Local groups are the problem,” she said.

Michelle Moyo

Mangoya fell in love with Chelsea after meeting former player Denis Wise at a train station in Birmingham and later seeing him play in a game against Aston Villa and she began following the team. Mangoya, fortunately, supports the same team as her husband and that has never created any problems for them.

“We all support Chelsea and coincidentally we support Caps United too. We have no problem at all and we even have a child whom we named Chelsea born in 2012 soon after the triumph in the Champions League final,” said Mangoya.

Judith Mangoya

An Arsenal fan, Michelle Moyo also had it tough following the beautiful game. She started supporting the North London side-back in the early 2000s when the club boasted black players like Thierry Henry and Ashely Cole.

Having a partner who supports Liverpool, however, has had no negative impact on their relationship as they enjoy the banter that comes with supporting different teams.

“My partner supports Liverpool, I hate it when they win and he hates it when Arsenal wins but I love the banter with him,” she said.

Arsenal

An ex-Manchester United fan who switched allegiance to rivals Manchester City, Sandisiwe Mpofu has never been a victim of bullying by men who believe football is a man’s game. The City fan, whose husband is an Arsenal fan, said she never stopped following the game because of other people’s discouraging thoughts.

“I believe that people are different and I do not have to do away with things I like most just because people have something against it. I love football and that will never change.

“My partner supports Arsenal and there have not been any problems regarding our teams, we respect each other’s choices,” said Mpofu.

Manchester City

Another woman who defied the odds is Sandisiwe Dube, a Manchester United fan who only faced opposition from her brother.

“I don’t remember when I started supporting Man United, but I do remember my eldest brother giving me a sermon for supporting a team that calls themselves ‘Red Devils’ and how demonic it was and how, as a Christian, I shouldn’t tolerate that,” she said.

Like Nkazimulo, Sandisiwe supports a team different from that of her siblings and also enjoys the banter that comes with it as at some stage her brother had her switch to Chelsea but she managed to find her way back to her beloved Manchester United.

For her, their love for the game came from her father and brother from a young age.

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