Mlauzi feels for Mighty Warriors

HARARE - Former Mighty Warriors coach Shadreck Mlauzi is determined to continue fighting for the emancipation of the girl-child in the sporting arena until they are equally remunerated as men.

Mlauzi made history by leading the Zimbabwe women’s football team to qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

This was the first time that any national football team had qualified for a global football tournament but since then, the women’s game has been comatose.

The 37-year-old coach took to social media to air his concerns regarding the current state of women’s football and how both the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) and the government have turned a blind eye to the catastrophe.

“A nation bereft of sporting success, culture undervalues historical achievements...a team qualifies for a continental competition and each player grosses over $40 000 — in sharp contrast a team qualifies for the grandest sporting spectacle in the world and is insulted with $500...a paradigm shift in vicissitudes if we are to remain relevant in a dynamic, complex world of sport,” Mlauzi wrote on his Facebook page.

In his rant, Mlauzi was referring to the case in which the Warriors players each got over $40 000 for participating in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals while on the other hand, the Mighty Warriors got only $500.

Speaking to the Daily News on Sunday last week, the Bulawayo-based coach pulled no punches as he laid the boot into the administrators.

“Take a leaf from the South Africa sporting model and Denmark in which national team players are paid the same money,” he said.

“Players need to sign contracts and have medical aid and give the players their stands, they deserve them, where are they?” he said with reference to the residential stands that the Mighty Warriors were promised.

“A promise was made by Makhosini Hlongwane (former Sports minister) in front of a packed media in April 2016 and 19 months down the line still nothing. It’s not good for sports. Who will aspire to be a national ambassador in this circus of blatant disregard of how national representatives should be treated?”

Despite his heroics, Mlauzi was sacked as the Mighty Warriors coach at the end of February this year and he is currently embroiled in a Labour Court dispute with his former employers.

“After a historic achievement one hoped for better recognition from our leaders. Imagine the humiliation I faced of being elevated in social mobility and suffering the fate of ridicule from our peers,” he said.

“I have to pay to watch Premier Soccer League matches, at the Cosafa Women’s Championships I had serious problems gaining entry into the stadium to watch the very team I coached in major tournaments.

“I’m a qualified Caf instructor but I’m not even being used for reasons only known to authorities, very much underutilised in the nation I uplifted to be recognised not continentally but internationally.

“I have championed the girl-child since I was 19 but with the manner the girls have been treated so many of talented players are leaving in droves to South Africa.”

Although he has issues with Zifa and government, Mlauzi said he still remains committed to helping uplift women’s football.

“I am hurting inside and I’m a deeply wounded man. I want to continue serving my nation in the best possible manner. The nation stands to benefit from the gifts the Lord has blessed us with.”

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