Treat our national footballers equally

HARARE - The issue of equal pay for women in our local sport should be addressed as soon as possible for so many reasons but most importantly — to become truly all inclusive.

Parliamentarians last week rightly sought government answers when they took Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane to task over the matter as they reviewed bonuses for the senior Zimbabwe soccer men’s team — the Warriors and their woeful performances at the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

The men’s side received $1 million from government while NetOne chipped in with $250 000 for their failed 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) campaign in Gabon.

Each Warriors player received $15 000 in appearance fees, a further $3 000 for the draw against Algeria together with a hefty allowance of $400-per-day during their stay in Gabon.

It was a different case for the Mighty Warriors when they participated at the 2016 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (Awcon) finals in Cameroon.

The government did not chip in with any money leaving the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) to bankroll the team’s welfare while in Cameroon.

Compared to their male counterparts, the Mighty Warriors players each received a paltry $700 in appearance fees.

This is by far a small fraction of the huge pickings the Warriors received in Gabon although both teams were representing the country at a similar continental tournament.

Even in America, this is a big issue with five top players on the US women’s team filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission demanding the same pay as their male counterparts last year.

The US men’s side makes $5 000 each for a loss; while the women are not paid anything for defeat or a draw.

If the US men’s side win they can earn a bonus of up to $17 625 while the women get only $1 350.

Tennis officials have addressed this issue and prize money for all grand slams is now equal for both the men and the women’s categories.

It should be a similar case with our local football because it is only fair to pay both parties equally.

The Mighty Warriors last year qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games — something which the men’s team has failed to do.

So why should the country reward mediocrity ahead of a team that has done the nation proud?

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