Kwinji 15’s passionate plea to  fellow women’s football coaches Sithethelelwe ‘Kwinji 15’ Sibanda

Fungai Muderere, Senior Sports Reporter

MARCH is women’s month and we continue to revisit the pledge we made as a nation to use sport, football in particular to empower the girl child through the game and to use the same to elevate the women in positions of responsibility.

There is no need to mention that such positive capacity building initiatives certainly lead to due rewards in terms of sound administration and management as has been proven that if “you empower a woman you empower the whole village.”

It is pleasing to note that at a time numerous calls have been made on leaders and power holders to uphold girls’ fundamental rights to participate in decision making, a number of local sporting institutions and other stakeholders from across the sports ecosystem, have unapologetically become part of a powerful coalition to make gender equality a living reality in and through sport.

After having watched her carve her name in New Orleans and Mighty Warriors colours, women’s senior national team head coach Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda, has in the same vein of seeking to see young women being empowered through sport, made a passionate plea to fellow women’s football coaches to stay strong and dedicated and highly consider to help young girls identify their career strengths they can always further pursue in football after hanging their boots.

“My appeal to fellow coaches at women’s football clubs is to stay strong, dedicated and put in a lot of effort with regards to improving their Curriculum Vitaes (CVs). There is a need to invest a lot of energy in it and in the process encourage or help out young ladies identify other football related careers they can pursue after retirement. It can be coaching, refereeing or administration,” said Sibanda a holder of a Caf A coaching certificate, Germany Certificate, a couple of Elite Strengthening and Conditioning certificates who is in the process of fully completing her Caf Instructors badges.

She added: “There is a real need for us as coaches to help our players prepare for the future while they are still playing. There is a need to help them get their strengths nurtured,” said Sibanda.

In 2015, she made history by becoming the first female coach to work in a competitive men’s football league in Zimbabwe when she assumed the role of assistant coach at the now defunct Tsholotsho FC.

She was Lizwe Sweswe’s lieutenant.

Lizwe Sweswe Bulawayo Chiefs

In a recent interview with our sister paper B-Metro, Sibanda said after showing leadership qualities while still turning out for the now defunct New Orleans, she was encouraged to pursue coaching by football administrator and consultant Brian Moyo.

“After exhibiting leadership qualities on and off the field I was advised to venture into coaching by many people, chief among them being Brian Moyo my former coach at New Orleans. It has been a fascinating experience that has also seen me venture into men’s football as a coach. I first did it in 2015 when I became an assistant coach to Lizwe Sweswe at Tsholotsho FC.

“The team had very respectful and dedicated players who saw a coach in me, not a woman. The players never undermined me because of being a female coach and I really liked that because this is the same respect that I get with girls that I usually work with in the senior national team,” said the dreadlocked gaffer who recently joined FC Platinum’s women’s team, Platinum Royals

What made Sibanda’s accomplishment striking is that while women have sat on the technical benches of Premiership outfits before, they were not part of the coaching staff.

Previously, women that have been seen on the technical bench were either physiotherapists or medics. The “cultural fact” and the rare sight of a woman coaching men made Sibanda’s role quite phenomenal. — @FungaiMuderere

You Might Also Like