Chanco Ladies FC: Challenging Sporting Stereotypes
One would think the existence of Chancellor College Football Club has been kept a secret, since the team rarely receives the same sort of publicity that teams in men’s football and basketball usually do. In part, this is due to misconceptions that exist among some people around Chirunga. In actual fact, ladies soccer has been part of Chancellor College students’ sports activities for a very long time, over ten years. Tumbikani Njikho, the captain of the ladies team, explains that the team has sometimes faced challenges from other female students, who fear that if they play football, their bodies will begin to develop masculine features. “This is not necessarily the case,” explains Tumbi, “Besides, in addition to the fitness, the training sessions and games give us an opportunity to interact in an informal way. Through the games, we are building relationships that will last for a long time. I would encourage ladies in all the disciplines – from first year to fourth year – to join the club. It is totally free, and can help to provide relaxation after the mental strain in the classroom.” Currently, there are around 27 female students registered in the club.
Students at Chancellor College are encouraged to take part in the various sporting activities that are on offer. Although the Chanco Ladies football team receives support from the college administration, in the form of transport and registering in leagues, they have observed that there is still some reluctance to take ladies soccer seriously. This reluctance is evident in the failure to procure training kits for the ladies. As a result, they have to borrow the training kits that are used by the men’s football team, in addition to using their own shoes (they have no football boots). Fortunately, the team has been receiving support from their male counterparts, who often join them in the training, and offer coaching advice. These include Admore Chirwa, the team manager for the club.
At the moment, the team is facing some challenges, among which is the difficulty in finding space for their training. In previous years, the training was held at Chamtunga ground. However, with the construction of science laboratories at the ground, the ladies have had to relocate to an impromptu ground behind the Fine and Performing Arts department.