Saturday, May 30, 2009

Nigerian Gender Chickens Coming Home To Roost

Here's a classic example of chickens coming home to roost.

Back in November I chronicled the whining and insulting gender based bitching the Nigerian women's national soccer team, AKA the Super Falcons did before, during and after the shocking 1-0 semifinal loss to Equatorial Guinea in the 6th Africa Women's Cup championship tournament.

That tournament was eventually won by the homestanding women of Equatorial Guinea, who beat South Africa 2-1 in the final. It marked the first time that another nation besides African women's soccer powerhouse Nigeria took home the championship since the tournament started in 1998.

The Super Falcons weren't happy campers about their third place finish. Nigeria Football Federation chairman Sani Lulu Abdullahi said afterward, "This is an embarrassment to the nation. It is clear that there must be an overhaul in several aspects of our women's football."

One of them is pull up the big girl panties, learn how to lose gracefully and stop whining. Instead of the five time defending African champion Super Falcons focusing on correcting their lousy play during this tournament, the coaches and players threw 'that's a man' shade at Equatorial Guinea players Binguisa Simpore and Salimata Simpore, and EQ team captain Anonma Genoveva, who scored seven goals and was the MVP of the tournament.

The Nigerians complained so much about it that the CAF, the governing body for soccer on the African continent will begin instituting gender testing before the 2010 tournament. Next year's tournament will be a qualifier for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup tournament being held in Germany.

So now that I've laid out the backstory, here's the interesting part.

There is a promising Nigerian teen player by the name of Bessy Ekaete Boniface. As a 16 year old striker she was invited in 2007 to the Super Falcons training camp.

Translation, Ekaete has game.

While being given her medical exam for the national team they discovered she was intersex. She not only was denied a chance to compete for and win a spot with the Super Falcons, the club team she was playing for, the Delta Queens of Asaba dropped her as well.

Unfortunately Ekaete was the major breadwinner of her nine person family and it had deleterious effects on them. Her Delta Queen teammates raised ₦50,000 ($337.84 USD) for her, but her career is still in limbo right now.

FIFA defines you as female for the purposes of competition if you're menstruating, even if you have ambiguous genitalia. That's still a problematic definition.

Because the Nigerian Football Federation played themselves and raised a loud public stink about the Equatorial Guinea players, they can't put her on the national team without looking like hypocrites.

The doctor's report that was released with her permission stated, "She has gender identification problem. She was examined and found to have the features of female, beginning from her external appearance, voice and reaction to issues.

"In my opinion, she is phenotypically female and should not be discriminated against. However she requires other investigations, surgery and hormone therapy to put her in perfect condition.'

But that still doesn't help Ekaete's current situation. Gbenga Omole, who runs an organization called Goldenwing33 Nigeria Limited that uses sports to keep kids from turning to organized crime, has begun an effort to raise the ₦2 million ($13,514 USD) for the surgery she'll need to play at the pro and international level.

When Omole announced that he'd set up an account at a local Nigerian bank group for Ekaete, he stated, "Please help this great future Falcon that will bring honour to this country, joy to many homes and pride to those who will help her today.

"Can't wait to see her back like Kanu Nwankwo did (Nigerian Super Eagles team captain), stronger and better. We urge Nigerians to come to her assistance and save a fledgling career".

Too bad y'all didn't show the same level of compassion for the women of the African champion Equatorial Guinea national team you slimed, but better late than never.

No comments: