If President Joyce Banda defied the odds to become Malawi’s first female Head of State, then what can prevent girls from playing rugby?
That was the question some Under-15 girls Khwima Manda, Sheila Majamanda, Chimika Khonje, Sauma Mtila-Doka, Shayla and Madeline Huang and Madeleine posed to The Nation on Sunday when asked about the birth of their teams in the Rugby Football Union (Rfum) development structures.
The girls were in the thick of things during the day-long Mapeto Types-sponsored K200 000 (US$491) seven-a-side tournament at the Blantyre high school.
“We have been playing for four years now. It makes us feel that we are equal and able just like boys. After all our President is a woman,” Manda said.
Dynamites Saints Majamanda chipped in: “When we play, [we] just feel good and the sport helps build team work.”
Doka added that they usually play against their fellow girls such as those of Luchenza “but when it comes to training, we even do it alongside boys.”
It remains to be seen if the girls would make an impact in the ever-growing Rfum rugby development set up that, according to coach Russell Suter, pooled 110 players from public schools and rural areas alongside 50 from hosts Saint Andrews.
“Today, they [girls] were not doing contact as they are still learning the skills. Rugby is growing and for the first time, Luchenza beat Saint Andrews by three tries,” Suter said.
The girls’ under-14 section also pooled HHI, Chitsime, Luchenza Red Ants and Ndirande Impala whereas the Under-15 boys’ event involved HHI, Saint Andrews A and B, Luchenza Red Ants, Chitsime School and Ndirande Impala.