THE winds of change have blown across the Zimbabwe Women’s Soccer League where Barbara Chikosi has been thrust into the hot seat as new leader of women’s football in Zimbabwe.
with MICHAEL KARIATI
Although she has been involved in women’s football for a long time, Chikosi — better known as Mama Red Rose — is best, if not better known in the showbusiness circles where her Red Rose Entertainment has promoted a host of local and international musical shows.
However, football is far much different from bringing together a collection of a local and international artistes to perform before a paying crowd, and Chikosi needs to hit the ground running to rescue the women’s game from the current state.
Too many challenges face women’s football in Zimbabwe, the first being to force the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) to surrender women’s flagship team, the Mighty Warriors, so that it can be run by the Zimbabwe Women’s Soccer League.
Although Chikosi has the experience of working with the girl child through the hair salons she owns in and around Harare, her biggest task will be to break the barrier that exists at national level where the current view is that women cannot lead their own national football team.
Under the current Zifa leadership, the Mighty Warriors have been badly treated to the extent of being made to take boiled kapenta while in camp while on two occasions the Mighty Warriors have been paid a pathetic $5 after returning from international engagements.
This is just the opposite of what has been happening to the Warriors, who have been living in the lap of luxury in four or three-star hotels, and have been receiving hefty bonuses.
While the Warriors have on numerous occasions been accorded international friendly matches to prepare themselves for international duty, the same has not been extended to the Mighty Warriors with the women’s team reduced to playing local women’s teams instead.
Ironically, if the two teams were to be compared in terms of success on the field of play, the Mighty Warriors are streets ahead of the Warriors having made it to the Olympic Games and have already qualified for their second successive Africa Women’s Cup of Nations finals.
While the Warriors are still to go beyond the group stages in their three Africa Cup of Nations appearances in 2004, 2006 and 2017, the Mighty Warriors can look back with pride to the fact that they reached the quarter-finals of the continental showpiece held in South Africa in 2004 when Rosemary Mugadza was their captain.
Another task on Chikosi’s door is to ensure that women’s league football is up and running once again as it is at the moment operating in jumps and starts due to the non-availability of a regular sponsor or sponsors.
There is also the issue of funds from Fifa for women’s football development which she has to see to it that they are channelled towards the intended purposes instead of being diverted to pay salaries for Zifa staff.
All this will not come if Amai Red Rose becomes a window dresser in a Zifa Board which is known for dictating terms instead of dealing with important issues at hand.
The fact that Chikosi was elected by the women’s football assembly to lead them means they have utmost faith in her that she can lead them to the Promised Land and she does not have to disappoint.
Worrying signs at Dynamos
On July 17, Dynamos kingmaker Bernard Marriot Lusengo announced the arrival of Harare businessman Solomon Sanyamandwe as the new DeMbare president taking over from the departed Keni Mubaiwa.
Sanyamandwe, who has a long association with Dynamos, joins a club leadership which is chaired by banker and long-term Dynamos follower, Isaiah Mupfurutsa.
This is the first time in Dynamos’ long history that DeMbare have had both a club president and a chairman. In the past, the Harare giants were led by a chairman until Mubaiwa changed himself from club chairman to president.
Now “Magitare”, as Marriot is also known, has decided that the club’s leadership be made of both a chairman and a president although their roles have not been clearly defined.
This spells danger for Dynamos. A football team can only have a club chairman or a club president and certainly not BOTH at the same time.
l For your comments, views, and suggestions email@example.com or WhatsApp on 077 3 266 779.