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Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan. Photo AFP/Getty Images

 

(CNN) - Tanzania's women football team have reacted following comments from Tanzania's female President Samia Suluhu Hassan describing female footballers as "flat-chested," and unattractive for marriage.

"To those athletes who are flat-chested, one can easily think that they are men," Hassan had said at a state event last Sunday to celebrate Tanzania's Under-23 men's team in the coastal city of Dar-es-Salaam.
""It is unfortunate that there is no hope of marriage life for some of these athletes, marriage is like a dream for them. If one of you was to pick one of the athletes and take her home as a wife to meet your parents, I am sure your mother would be surprised and confused as to whether it's a woman or a man," the president said.
Elsewhere in her speech, she emphasized the need to increase funding for the country's athletes, especially sportswomen and looking after them in retirement.
A video of Hassan's speech, which was delivered in Swahili, sparked outrage after it was widely shared on social media.
Hassan, 61, is the country's first female president who was sworn in after the death of predecessor John Magufuli in March this year.
Her reign was touted to usher in a more liberal stance from her predecessor's often repressive regime.
 
"The comment by president @SuluhuSamia on women footballers is a humiliation to all women," said forner MP Catherine Ruge, head of the women's arm of the opposition Chadema party.

Remarks 'misinterpreted'

The Presidency has not commented on the uproar following Hassan's remarks, however, senior players of Tanzania's national women's team 'Twiga Stars,' said at a press conference Thursday that she had been misinterpreted.
"There is a statement that the president had spoken about and people interpreted it in different ways," one player said.
"The president's statement gave us, the players, a lot of strength and encouragement, which made us to work very hard in sports. We have not seen anything with that statement."
Another player stated women footballers in the country are not bothered by their physical looks.
"We are beautiful, we are wonderful like other women and we also plan to be mothers someday. The question about appearance on our side is not something that really matters to us... The game we play needs a lot of strength. We will not stop doing exercising to build our muscles and strengths in order to reach our goals," the player, who was not named, said.

'Unfortunate remark'

Maria Sarungi Tsehai, an activist and founder of the #ChangeTanzania movement, described President Hassan's remarks as "body-shaming," and "completely unacceptable and unexpected from a woman leader."
"This kind of soundbite from the president of the country, especially one who's a woman is easily pounced upon by sexist and misogynistic people," Tsehai told CNN.
"It's a very unfortunate remark, considering the fact that she (Hassan) has been celebrated in Africa as the first female president of Tanzania — overcoming stereotypes and the perceptions people have that a woman cannot be the leader of a country."
"For her to turn that around and use stereotyping against these women who are also breaking stereotypes...especially in a male-dominated sport like football, is very unfortunate," she added. - Nimi Princewill, CNN

Hassan's comments were widely derided online. Photo AFP

 

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan has come under fire for remarks about women footballers having “flat chests” and suggesting they would not be attractive candidates for marriage.

Hassan made the comments at a ceremony on Sunday to celebrate the victory of a national men’s team in a regional football championship, where ironically she also called for better funding for women’s sports.

“For those who have flat chests, you might think they are men and not women,” she said at Sunday’s event.

“And if you look at their faces you might wonder … because if you want to marry, you want someone who is attractive, a lady who has the qualities that you want.”

She added that for the women footballers “those qualities have disappeared”.

Hassan, who took office in March after the sudden death of her predecessor John Magafuli, is the only serving female head of state in Africa alongside Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde, whose role is mainly ceremonial.

“Today they are making us proud as a nation when they bring trophies to the country but if you look at their lives in the future, when the legs are tired from playing, when they don’t have the health to play, what life will they be living?” she said.

“The life of marriage is like a dream to them. Because even if one of you here takes them home as your wife, your mother will ask if they are a woman or a fellow man.”

Hassan’s comments were widely derided online.

“The comment by president @SuluhuSamia on women footballers is a humiliation to all women,” said Catherine Ruge, the head of the women’s wing of the opposition Chadema party and former MP.

“All women deserve respect.”

Maria Sarungi, the founder of civil society group Change Tanzania, echoed that view.

“So all those cheering a female presidency…@SuluhuSamia is denigrating female football players for having ‘flat chests’ and thus lacking attractive features necessary to get married. You must be proud @AWLNetwork,” she tweeted, referring to the African Women Leaders Network. - AFP/Al Jazeera

Photo FIBA

 

CAIRO (Egypt) - Algeria point guard Loubna Ferikh on Sunday was full of excitement to end the FIBA U16 Women's African Championship with a medal courtesy of a Third-Place 53-51 win over Uganda.

The feat makes it the first podium finish for Algeria in all three editions they have participated in.

The Rouiba Club Basketball of Algeria player had every reason to celebrate being the Captain of the side.

"The game against Uganda was a tough one but I am very happy that we won. This win means a lot to us because this is the first time Algeria will make it to the podium. That is enough for us to be excited," she told FIBA.basketball at the conclusion of the Third-Place Game at Cairo Arena.

The 1.78m (5ft 7in) who turned 16 on January 3rd, stated that the win will help set the bar for Algerian women's basketball.

Ferikh was not the only one celebrating on Sunday as fourth-placed Uganda were not left out.

The determination Uganda showed was thrilling as they nearly left Algeria in tears in the last quarter of the game when they closed the points margin to 52-50 inside the fourth quarter with just 45 seconds left on the clock.

Uganda captain Darlene Tashobya added that there is a need for her to celebrate because of the experience she gathered from the championship. "My experience from the championship in Cairo had been good. I have learned a lot and plenty to take back home to help me improve in the game."

Uganda coach Rodgers Sevinigho admitted that his team started preparation late but the team impressed him with their performance.

The Championship in Cairo marks the second appearance for Uganda having finished fifth in the 2019 edition held in Kigali, Rwanda. - FIBA

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