By Lovemore Khomo
NGO Gender Coordination Network (NGO-GCN) has expressed concern over recent reports from Malawi National Netball team legend Mary Waya who believes the behaviour of some male coaches in African netball remains the “biggest challenge” for female players.
It is on record that Mary Waya told the African Daily podcast earlier this week that, “Most African teams have male coaches, so that’s the biggest challenge as they wants sexual favours to get selected into the team.”
“You will find that when you go to the competition, to the changing rooms, you feel insecure because of these male coaches.” said Mary Waya.
Through a statement NGO-GCN Chairperson Barbara Banda has called on relevant authorities to investigative the matter as the reported instances of coaches abusing their authority by making inappropriate demands are both unacceptable and reprehensible.
“We therefore urge relevant authorities, including sports associations, governing bodies, and law enforcement agencies, to launch a thorough and impartial investigation into the allegations, create a safe reporting mechanisms, gender-sensitive training of coaches and sports personnel and introduce counselling, legal and medical support services for those affected.”
Banda argued that her institution stands firm against any form of gender-based exploitation, sextortion, harassment, or abuse and it takes the allegations seriously.
The statement further indicates that it disheartening to hear that some male coaches have used their positions of authority to manipulate and exploit young female athletes, undermining their aspirations and violating their rights.
“Sports should serve as a platform for empowerment, skill development and positive role modeling. We believe that every individual, regardless of their gender, deserves a safe and respectful environment to pursue their dreams and reach their full potential.” explained Banda.
The NGO-GCN has emphasised the need for advocacy, awareness, representation and leadership campaigns for gender equality and women’s rights within the sports sector.
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