On the African continent, women’s football has come a long way. Many female players’ success stories, such as Nigeria’s Assisat Oshoala and Ghana’s Elizabeth Addo, have made bold remarks for female players aspiring to follow in their footsteps.
Female football players, on the other hand, often face perceptions that discourage others from pursuing that career direction. ” Statements such as female players having bad body statures, being unable to marry or give birth, or being lesbians typically discourage families from allowing their daughters to play the game.
However, one lady, Alice Eva Danso, now Mrs Alice Sarkodie, is defying the stereotype.
Mrs Alice Sarkodie, a 26-year-old attacker, has spent the last ten years playing for Ghana Women’s League side Police Ladies. Alice Sarkodie is a police officer who has represented Ghana’s various women’s national teams. From the U-17, U-20, and Black Queens teams.
“I joined the national team in 2008, starting with the U-17s and progressing to the U-20s before being promoted to the Back Queens. You will find proof of my success on the national teams if you Google Alice Eva Danso.”
“My father was the one who first introduced me to the game. He coerced me into joining Ghana Telecom’s ladies. He was a sportsman himself, and when he saw how much I enjoyed football, he wanted to encourage me.”
Alice claims that getting her father’s encouragement was all she wanted to pursue a career as a football player, and that no amount of outside pressure influenced her decision.
“Some people used to tell my mother that if she lets me play football, I will look like a man, I will dress like a man, I won’t be able to marry, I will not be able to have children, and so on.” And those remarks nearly reached my mother, who was concerned that I would behave like a man or be unable to marry if I played football. Still, may my father’s soul rest in peace, he gave me his undivided support, and that was enough for me.”
Sarkodie and Alice met in 2011 and married in 2015, and they now have two children together. None of these life changes, according to the police ladies’ player, had an impact on her football career.
“It is not easy to get married, have a child, and then return to the field, but if you have a good husband who is always willing to help you with housework and child care, it is a lot easier. My husband is also a big motivator for me, but having a child had no impact on my career because my husband was still there to help me, even with training.”
Because of Ghanaians’ negative perceptions of female footballers, many Ghanaian parents would reject the idea of their girl child choosing football as a profession. Alice’s dad, on the other hand, was an outlier. Rather, he introduced the game to his daughter.
Alice Husband is a police officer as well as a football player. He is a member of the division two police men’s squad. Her partner, she claims, has been very supportive of her work. She said she was about to hang up her boots after giving birth to her first child, but her husband persuaded her to return to the game.
“My husband, on the other hand, has been a huge supporter of my career. I almost quit playing football when I gave birth to our second child due to CS because I thought that was the end, but it was my husband who encouraged me to return to the game. I was hesitant at first, but he persuaded me and even purchased some devices to assist me in getting back on my feet after six months of childbirth. He continued to practice with me until I returned to the field,”
Several female footballers, like Alice, are married or have children, dispelling the misconception that female footballers are unable to have children or marry. Franklin Oswald Sam, the head coach of Police Ladies FC, argues that this mindset is outdated and archaic, and that people must abandon it.
“That perception was high a few years ago, but now I believe people are realizing that women can play football and keep their famine touch. Men now admire sportswomen for their physical activity, and sportswomen do not have any difficulties giving birth. As a result, I believe it is past time for them to let go of their outdated perceptions of female footballers. People say that if you play football as a woman, you become rigid, that you can not marry, and so on, but Alice is married, has two children, and still plays. As a result, she serves as an inspiration to many. It is also easier to train female players who have children or are married because they have matured.”
Alice acknowledges that having two children has had an effect on her success as a player. To remain in the squad, she now relies more on experience.
“At first, anyone who asks about Alice will say that I have speed, and I do not think anyone could beat me to the ball when I was playing for the national team, but that has decreased since I gave birth to two children, and I believe I am growing as well. As a result, I now depend more on my experience.”
One might wonder why Alice’s husband, Sarkodie, is so supportive of her career.
“The first time I saw her, she was with the national team, and as a footballer myself, I know that every player’s dream is to be called into the national team, and since I have not gotten the chance but my wife has, I have decided to give her all my support in whatever way I can to help her progress.”
Women’s football is growing in popularity on the continent, and its growth will be steady if such stereotypes regarding female players are dispelled. Sarkodie, Alice’s husband, wants to change people’s minds about female athletes.
“All I ask is that people change their negative perceptions of female athletes. When your time is up, as a female player, you should also make time to marry and start a family. You should do that instead of focusing all of your energy on the sport when you meet someone with whom you think you want to start a life with.”