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Tanzania’s President receives backlash for “derogatory” comments regarding female footballers

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Samia Suluhu Hassan, the President of Tanzania has rubbed up the wrong way after saying some controversial remarks regarding female footballers over their appearance.

Samia Suluhu Hassan was present at a ceremony to celebrate the success of Tanzania’s Under-23 men’s football team at the recent Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) Challenge Cup in Ethiopia.

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During the ceremony which took place at State House in the coastal city of Dar es Salaam on Sunday, the President made those remarks on the lines of desiring the betterment of women’s football in the country.

Hassan claimed that playing football makes female players physically unattractive and would be hard to differentiate from their male counterparts, as well as insisting that many of them would find difficulty in finding a life partner.

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“For those who have flat chests, you might think they are men and not women,” the prez said at the 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.”

Hassan accuse for stereotyping female footballers despite being Tanzania’s first female head of state

The 61-year-old, who is Tanzania’s first female president and the only female head of state in Africa, took office back in March after the death of former president John Magafuli due to heart complications.

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She has been vocal against her critics accusing her to have been elected president just because of her gender and also called for the improvement of the sportspersons in the country, especially the female athletes and even reached out to respective authorities.

Unfortunately, her recent comments are bound to act as an inhibitor in that regard as she has become the focal point of a massive backlash from other athletes, politicians as well as the general public of Tanzania.

A number of netizens on social media accused Hassan of “stereotyping female footballers” despite being the first female president of Tanzania, and also “never being progressive” as well as “generalizing without scientific facts”.

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

“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,” added Maria Sarungi, founder of civil society group Change Tanzania, while referring to African Women Leaders Network. [H/T BBC]

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Saikat Banerjee
Saikat Banerjee
A wordsmith who indulges in the world of combat sports, Saikat is an MMA, boxing, and arm wrestling content writer at The MMA India Show and The Sports Room. Apart from combat sports, he also engages in Indian sports content at The Sports India Show. Currently pursuing an MBA from Jadavpur University, Saikat's other interests lie in motorcycling, working out, and travelling.

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