However, every sport is important for health and can be a source of income if turned into a profession, according to Vedaste Kayiranga, the Vice President of Rwanda’s Football Federation (Ferwafa).
Launching the 2017 edition of the FIFA “Live Your Goals” (LYG) festival in Ruhango District of the Southern Province last week, Kayiranga urged parents to let their girls join football.
“This campaign will open an avenue for more girls to play football in Rwanda. These festivals aim at building on the success of the Live Your Goals campaign so far and it is meant to offer a host of exciting activities to the public,” he said.
“Just like we have seen in Ruhango District, we hope to see more girls and women at the week-long festival session which will end on September 22. Let us support girls and encourage them to play football regularly so as to raise the profile of women’s football in Rwanda.”
In Ruhango District, 200 girls aged between 6-12 years drawn from four schools namely EP Amizero, EP Munini, GS Catholique Ruhango and EP ADEPR participated in the day-long event which was held at Indangaburen zi College of Education playground. The girls participated in a range of sports activities which varied from 4v4 games, to fun coaching stations working on dribbling, passing and control that were ran by regional technical advisors and other volunteers.
Félicité Rwemalika, the head of women football committee at Ferwafa, reminded parents that football is not for boys only but girls can make it too to play for best teams in the country, abroad and national team.
“It has always been believed and supported by ancient Rwandan culture that girls stay at home doing household chores but I want to tell you that you are able to make football a profession. We have coaches and equipments for your training. You only need to love football,” she advised.
Kayiranga told parents to change mindset of thinking that if a girl plays football loses cultural respect but that sports can keep them away from bad actions.
The Live Your Goals campaign targets to inspire girls and women to play football. It was launched at the 2011 Women’s World Cup and is part of FIFA’s long-term commitment to support women’s football worldwide.
In Rwanda, the campaign seeks to increase the number of females playing football, create new opportunities by increasing the number of festivals year on year and increase the numbers of girls who join clubs from the festivals.
The campaign has already covered districts of Huye, Rusizi, Bugesera, Rubavu, Nyagatare, Ruhango and Muhanga. The next sessions will be held in districts of Kayonza on September 19, Gicumbi on September 21 before concluding in Musanze on September 22, 2017.
Ferwafa is running the campaign with FIFA’s support of $120,000 (around Rwf100 million) and will end by 2018.