These Women Were Told Not to Play Soccer. Instead They Formed a Team.

Source: The New York Times

By Shannon Sims

Photographs by Nichole Sobecki

JUMBI, ZANZIBAR — “People have tried to stop me from playing,” said Riziki Abdallah, sitting in her mother’s humble home in the village of Dole in Zanzibar, a semiautonomous archipelago off the coast of Tanzania. “They say, ‘Don’t play soccer, soccer is only for men.’”

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In Zanzibar, you see children playing soccer not infrequently, and people watching World Cup matches on TVs in corner restaurants, like anywhere else. But what you don’t see are women playing. Here soccer, though popular, is limited to boys and men. Through public pressure, lack of sponsorship, and family shaming, women are discouraged from playing.

“I’ve never been attacked physically,” Ms. Abdallah, 23, added, shooting a nervous glance at her mother across the room. “But they tell me and my family that they are not happy, and that I should not be playing soccer.”

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