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Is this the time for mixed grill soccer?

THERE was a time when we had separate Schools for boys and girls in Tanzania just like how it is in many countries.

Boys and girls were also discouraged from playing together for religious, cultural and other reasons which have for example, resulted in all the countries worldwide having separate Male and Female Wards in hospitals.

Nowadays, this is has become part of history in many countries. However, some of them still continue to ban women from taking part in sports in public, while others don’t even allow them to watch the games at the stadiums.

In the same way that many countries decided to adopt co-education (mixed-sex schools) they have now come up with mixed-sex in soccer.

This radical change of direction has come after decades of active discouragement, but now attitudes are shifting.

While some people who support mixed soccer feel it is a fantastic idea there are those who disapprove it on claims that the game will be less exciting.

They may argue that women and men are not equal physically and suggest that this should perhaps apply only in friendly games and not competition matches.

Frankly speaking, I have of late loved and enjoyed watching women’s soccer over men’s soccer because the game seems more about tactics than pure athleticism.

Many reasons are advanced for gender segregation in sports, but most of them are unsatisfactory. So the presumed physical superiority of males falls by the wayside.

It is true, of course, that men have greater upper-body musculature and most have fast twitch muscles that provide an advantage in speed and acceleration.

Yet, careful analysis reveals that it is more accurate to discuss gender differences rather than superiority. It turns out, for instance that the fighting spirit of women in soccer is higher than that of their counter parts.

This stems from a combination of better buoyancy and superior endurance of women. In sports, as in so much else, sexuality rears its ugly head. If we could take sexuality out of the equation, there is no reason that mixed-sex sports could not succeed.

Yet, that can be difficult if the word ‘impossible’ is allowed to stay right in front of us. In the United States and a handful of other countries, it is not uncommon for women to upstage their male counterparts when it comes to soccer success.

Try to recall how many times have you heard about a young man badly wounded in a fight by a slim fit woman?

I am of the opinion that we should try the mixed grill soccer with few exhibition matches, analyse the results and later decide what is next.

To be honest, Tanzanians have been disappointed with the performance of our male club and national teams and as a result their interest has been shifted to other countries.

No wonder many soccer fans know so much about European clubs and their players than those of their motherland.

No wonder the number of spectators who watch our Premier League matches, except when there is a Simba-Young Africans match, has dwindled in the past few years.

I think Tanzanians are now anxiously looking for a change that will to some extent compensate for the frustrations they have in men’s soccer at home.

Perhaps the mixed grill soccer will give us a relief and revive the interests of Tanzanians in local football.

We should not wait for the mixed-sex soccer to develop in other countries, only for us to wake up and introduce it in Tanzania.

If other countries which have introduced the mixed- grill soccer find the system entertaining, why not us? Let us it try now.

NATIONAL Investments Company (NICOL) invests ...

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Author: SALIM SAID SALIM

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