Nigerian Women’s Soccer Coach to Team: No Lesbians Need Apply
However, given the circumstances surrounding Nigeria’s renowned women’s national soccer team — the Super Falcons — the sport seems to be doing anything but.Prior to being hired as the squad’s first female coach in 2009, Eucharia Uche stated at a seminar that she was troubled by the presence of lesbians on the team. Since then, she has made a conscious effort to remove all traces of homosexual behavior from the club by way of religion.
Equally alarming, however, is the rationale that spurred Uche’s attempted reformation of the Nigeria Super Falcons in the first place.Uche said she had never witnessed her own players participating in homosexual activity. Instead, she said that she had relied on rumors, speculation and news media accounts to form her belief that lesbian behavior had been common in the Nigerian team.As disconcerting and immoral as their plight may be, at the end of the day, the women of the Nigeria Super Falcons are at least allowed on the field, provided they keep mum on the subject of homosexuality. This is more than can be said for those female soccer players who do elect to speak out on the controversial topic.In 2008, 31-year-old star midfielder and lesbian activist Eudy Simelane was murdered in South Africa in what many deemed a hate crime. According to The New York Times, her death “became the focus of a campaign to draw attention to violence against gays and lesbians.”A player by the name of Tumi Mkhuma was raped and left pregnant in an attack; after losing the baby, she said she twice tried to kill herself and to this day sometimes wishes she was dead.While gender discrimination in soccer is technically prohibited and carries with it suspensions or expulsions, FIFA maintains it cannot comment on the Nigeria case due to the fact that it has received no official information or complaints.Such silence is not surprising when considered in conjunction with what Nigeria’s captain and goalkeeper, Precious Dede, had to say when asked about her coach’s position:
The Nigerian women's football team, the Falcons, has expelled a number of lesbians, according to a report in a Nigerian newspaper.
"When I was in charge of the Falconets, we did not allow lesbian to stay in the same room. We took time to identify all of them and checkmated them with some restrictions."
By Paul Canning