Women football has come a long way on the Africa Continent. The success story of many female players like Nigeria’s Assisat Oshoala, Ghana’s Elizabeth Addo and others have made bold statements for female players who are striving to follow in their footsteps.
However female football players often face some stereotypes which essentially demotivates others from choosing that career path. ” Statements like female players have bad body statures, they can’t marry, can’t give birth, they are lesbians normally prevents families from allowing their girls to play the game.
But one woman Alice Eva Danso, Now Mrs Alice Sarkodie, is beating the myth.
Mrs Alice Sarkodie, a 26-year-old attacker, has been playing for Ghana Women’s league side Police Ladies for the past 10 years. Alice Sarkodie is also a police officer and has played for all the various women’s National teams in Ghana. From the U-17, the U-20 and the Black Queens.
“I was in the national team 2008, I started with the U-17 and then I moved to U-20 and then later promoted to the Back Queens. If you google Alice Eva Danso, you will have evidence of my performance at the National teams level.”
Many Ghanaian parents will abort the idea of their girl child choosing football as a career and that is because of the ill perception Ghanaians have about female footballers. But Alice’s father was an exception. He rather introduced his girl child to the game.
“It was my father who introduced me to the game. He made me join Ghana Telecom ladies. He was a sportsman himself and when he noticed I loved football he decided to push me”
According to Alice, having her father’s support was the only thing she needed to peruse her career as a footballer and no amount of external pressure influenced her decision.
“some people used to tell my mum that, if she allows me to play football I will look like a man, I will dress like a man, I can marry, I can’t give birth and a whole lot. And those sayings nearly got to my mum so it was her that had issues that probably I will act like a man or won’t be able to marry if I pray football. But as for my dad, may his soul rest in peace, he gave me his total support and that was enough for me”.
Alice met her husband Sarkodie in 2011 but got married in 2015 and they now have two kids together. According to the police ladies’ player, none of these life changes affected her football career.
“It’s not easy to get married, give birth and then come back to the field but if you get a good husband who always help you with house chores and taking care of the kids, it makes it easy. My husband also motivates me a lot and so giving birth never affected my career because my husband was always to support me, even with training.”
Alice Husband is also a police officer and a footballer. He plays for the police men’s team which is in division two. According to her, the husband has been very supportive of her career. She said after giving birth to her firstborn, she nearly hanged her boots but her husband convinced her to go back to the game.
“As for my husband, he has been very supportive of my career. When I gave birth to our second-born because I went through CS, I nearly quit playing football because I thought that was the end but it was my husband who advised me to get back into the game. At first, I was reluctant but he convinced me and even bought some machines to help me get back on my feet after six months of giving birth. He trained with me till I got back to the field,”
Just like Alice, several female players are either married or have children, beating the myth that female footballers are unable to have children or get married. Franklin Oswald Sam is the head Coach of Police Ladies FC and he believes this perception is outmoded and archaic hence people must get rid of it.
“some years ago that perception was on a high but now I think people are beginning to realize that women can equally play football and not lose their famine touch. Now men even like sportswomen a lot because of their activeness and in terms of giving birth, sportswomen don’t even struggle with it. and so I think it’s about time because get rid of this outmoded perception about female footballers out of their minds. People say if you play football as a lady you become rigid, you can’t marry etc., but here we have Alice, married, have two kids and actively play. So she serves as an example to many. And female players who even have kids or are married it’s easy to coach them because they become more mature”.
Alice admits that giving birth to two kids has affected her performance as a player. she now relies more on experience to stay fit in the team.
“At first when you ask of Alice, anybody will say that I have speed and when I was playing for the national team I don’t think someone could beat me to the ball but now that has reduced after giving birth to two and I think I am growing too. So now I rely more on experience.”
One will ask, why has Alice husband, Sarkodie being supportive of her wife’s career,
“The first time I saw her, she was with the national team, and being a footballer myself, I know the aim of every player is to be called into the national team and since I have not gotten the opportunity and my wife has, I decided to give her all my support in whatever ways so she can go higher”
The development of Women football is on the rise on the continent and its progress will be steady if certain perceptions about female players are eradicated. Alice husband, Sarkodie wish people to change their negative perception about female players.
“I just hope people change the ill perception they have about female players. And as a female player, you should also make time to marry and start a family when the time is up. When you meet someone and you think you want to start life with, you should do it and not channel all your attention on the sport”