By Leocadia Bongben
A series once shown in Cameroon had as title “the rich also cry”, portraying that rich people also have problems.
This is almost the same scenario with the Brazilian women football. While players in Cameroon and Africa have the impression that Brazilian women’s football is one of the best, the realities are similar to other countries in Africa and the world.
Five times World Cup winners and semi-finalists of the 2014 World Cup, men’s football has evolved in Brazil where women’s football is neglected and not valued.
Female soccer was banned in Brazil and other countries like England, though the ban was later lifted, women’s soccer is still crying out for help.
In this country of the football king, Edson Arantes do Nascimento better known as Pele, many female players have decided to ply their trade abroad where they can fetch some financial reward and Equatorial Guinea is one of such destinations.
Playing soccer in another country can bring some more money, but in Brazil it is still a little bit difficult says 20 year-old Beatriz Vaz, footballer who is part of the Guerreiras Project ( Female Warriors) that fights for equality in soccer fields in Brazil.
Vaz’s struggle to play football is a depiction of women’s struggle to play football in Brazil and the world over. She was part of the Discover Football Campaign for the improvement of female football in Rio de Janeiro from July 3-7 and told her story.
This midfielder who started playing as child went to some football clubs, practiced hard every day for a very long time until she grabbed the opportunity and got to the Brazilian national female football team.
But, it was not a bed of roses for the Vaz the first of the three children and like many girls in Brazil though good players she had hard time playing soccer.
“We don’t have good support; we have to pay to go for training and also outside the field to complete the training which most times is not enough”.
“We lack financial support, the federation puts in money that can only last a few months though I can’t say how much but, I don’t think it is enough and government support is considered to be some kind of social”.
However, Vaz is not discouraged, she would in future encourage her daughter to play soccer because to her, there are so many things one can achieve by playing soccer.
“It is not just about going to the national team; we can change attitudes and communities and soccer is a great opportunity to be a better person”.
Vaz and her colleagues have been working hard to use football to change lives and communities.
Through the Guerreiras Project started by a former US footballer Caitlin Fisher, Vaz goes to the communities, talking to boys and girls and their parents on gender roles and female soccer.
“We are using football as our tool, going to the communities, play with them share ideas and try to break some traditional roles.
With this project there is a glimmer of hope that the perception of female football is going to change. Besides, if the Brazilian Football Confederation adopts the Fifa female football principles among which is planning female football, the best for female football can be tapped.
*This article is produced after the Discover Football Campaign in Rio de Janeiro.