News / Africa

AFCON: Female Fans Not Welcome at African Football Tournament

A fan of South Africa is pictured before the team's international friendly soccer match against Algeria in Soweto, January 12, 2013.
A fan of South Africa is pictured before the team's international friendly soccer match against Algeria in Soweto, January 12, 2013.
Anita Powell
— As the African Cup of Nations prepares to kick off this weekend, some teams have courted controversy by allegedly saying they don’t want female fans attending because they’ll bring bad luck. Predictably, this has not gone over well with women.

A local South African newspaper cited an AFCON organizer who said that teams from Ghana, Congo, Mali and Niger complained. The organizer said some on the teams believe women bring bad luck and are associated with witchcraft.

VOA attempted to reach representatives of all four teams who allegedly made the comments. None of those attempts was successful.

Tournament organizers also have refused to comment on the report.

But South Africans are commenting on it.

"We do understand that different cultures and different countries across the continent have different beliefs. But here in South Africa, the rule of South African law needs to be respected and, I think it’s, I can say, it’s absurd to say that women are bad luck," Troy Martens, ruling African National Congress Women’s League spokeswoman said. "Here in South Africa, women are ardent soccer supporters and go to many of the games, and that’s never, ever been a case where a woman has been bad luck. So, as a South African woman, I can say it’s completely absurd and ridiculous. “

Amos Motaung teaches soccer to kids at the Yamampela Soccer Academy in Soweto, in the shadow of the stadium that will host the tournament's opening and final matches.
They’re planning to start girls’ teams soon. Motaung noted the success of South Africa’s women’s team, Banyana Banyana. That team, incidentally, is ranked fifth among African teams, according to FIFA. The men’s team is ranked 22nd.

Motaung disagrees that girls and women are bad for football. "No no, that’s not correct. Hey, if they’re bad luck … in the case of Banyana Banyana, what are they saying based on that ? So I don’t think girls in football is bad luck," he said. "For them to attend stadiums and so forth, no, it’s not bad luck. No, no, I disagree.”

South African police have said they’re ready for this tournament and have assured it will be safe when it begins on Saturday.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.