Rwanda women’s coach suspended after saying rivals were like men

The head coach of Rwanda’s women’s football team was suspended on Saturday by the national federation for making comments that characterised Ghanaian rivals as being “like men” following her team’s loss.

Grace Nyinawumuntu expressed that her team had felt intimidated by the Ghanaian team, which led to a 7-0 defeat in an African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier held in Kigali on Wednesday.

“They have girls who we think have male hormones. They are girls who are like men,” she said. “Our team was scared… when they got to the pitch, they conceded because they were scared.”

Rwanda’s football federation (FERWAFA) released a statement to AFP confirming the suspension of the coach “until further notice” due to her “inappropriate choice of dictation” following the game between Rwanda and Ghana.

FERWAFA said “The remarks made by the coach of the national women about the players of the Ghana national women’s team are in violation of the rules and values of football in Rwanda.”

“We remind members of FERWAFA to desist from behaviour and remarks that are not aligned with the truth, have no factual basis and are not professional.”

Grace Nyinawumuntu, a former player who became Rwanda’s first female professional football coach in 2014, had previously been suspended as the head coach of AS Kigali Women in 2017. This suspension came in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment made against her by members of the team.

In response to her wrongful dismissal by AS Kigali Women, Grace Nyinawumuntu pursued legal action and was successful in her case. The club was ordered to pay her $47,000 in damages (equivalent to 44,000 euros).

Grace Nyinawumuntu was appointed as the head coach of the national women’s football team in June of this year.

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