Photo credits to Rafael Ribeiro/CBF
Photo: Brazilian coaching staff and Brazilian head of co-ordination for women’s football via Twitter / @CBF_Futebol
Is gender inequality holding back Brazil WNT’s progress?
Recently, Spanish players have called for changes in their national team. This because, Ignacio Quereda, their main coach has been leading Spanish women’s national team since 1988.
That is right, you did not misread. Quereda has coached Spain for 27 years! That is a lot of time without any results and changes. Unlike the men team, the female one did not achieve any significant results in their history. This did not happen due to the lack of ability of female Spanish players (because they are very skilled!), but due to the absence of encouragement from their federation and cultural aspects.
Very similar to what happens in Brazil, a country where sexism dominates social attitudes as, for example, football being a sport only for boys,and where our football confederation never cared much for the women’s team.
Besides being a major contributor to the lack of achievements of the women’s national team, the Brazilian football confederation, was also recently responsible for the failure of the men’s team in the last World Cup.
Daniel Alves gave an interview recently saying that Pep Guardiola wanted to coach Brazil at last year’s World Cup but local officials were against him. He also said that the former Barcelona coach was even willing to get paid only if he achieved the outcomes expected by the Brazilian people. Who would refuse the best coach in the world? They preferred the humiliation of 7×1 than having a foreign coach…
I have always advocated bringing foreign coaches to Brazil from countries where the sport is more developed. Even more after sports like handball, canoeing and water polo have achieved significant results after having invested in foreign trainers. The main example is Morten Soubak, a Danish coach who trains the Brazilian handball team since 2009 and lead them to a historic title at the 2013 World Women’s Handball Championship.
I have also always defended the idea of women, preferably former players, as part of the coaching staff of female teams. It is inadmissible a female national team that do not have a woman at least as a member of their coaching staff. Why Juliana Cabral, Sissi, Aline Pellegrino and other former female players can not be part of the Brazilian coaching staff? I’m pretty sure that many of them are much more capable and has a lot more interest in the success of the Brazilian team, than those who are there currently.
There are many countries who have succeeded with female coaches and former women’s footballers including USA who have earned great success under Pia Sundhage and Jill Ellis. Germany were a dominant force under the guidance of Silvia Neid who has recently stepped down from the role and retired footballer Steffi Jones is set to take charge. The success is not limited to senior level, retired women’s footballer Maren Meinert is doing a fantastic job with Germany U-20 including winning the FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cup in Canada last year.
The Olympics are coming, and under pressure from the Ministry of Sports for good results, the Brazilian Football Confederation had to invest in the women’s team. So they made some changes. First, they hired a coach with a long career in men’s football, who probably had never watched a women’s football match before; after created a permanent national program, but without investing in friendlies; and lastly appointed as head of co-ordination for women’s football a person who also had nothing to do with women’s football.
Why choose a head of co-ordination for women’s football with no relation to the women’s game? Why not choose a female coach or a foreign coach with large experience in women’s football? I have nothing against Vadão or Cunha, but in my opinion they are conservative choices made by those who do not know anything about women’s football and do not have much interest in this.
In my view, serious work would be grounded in learning with professionals from other countries, with more tradition in women’s football, such as Germany and US, and in professional qualification of former players, so they can keep helping to develop the modality and one of them can assume the position of head coach one day.
After the Brazilian failure in Canada being eliminated by Australia in the knockout stage and after realizing that the best teams were those who possessed the best defences, I fear for Brazil. The USWNT won not because Carli Lloyd was electrifying in the final, but because they have a great goalkeeper and fantastic defenders, who were consistent throughout all the championship and gave to them the best defence of the World Cup.
Unlike the US, Brazil has a major issue with the defence sector, mainly in the left wing and with the goalkeeper spot. Watching the match on last Wednesday of Brazil against Mexico in Pan Am Games, I joked with Gina that the next title of my post would be: “Goalkeeper is needed.” On defence, the problem might be solved with the return of the captain Bruna Benites and Tayla, but Brazil urgently need a reliable goalkeeper, because Andréia Suntaque did not leave replacements.
My ticket for the final in the Olympics has already been bought. However, everything suggests that I will not see my country playing the final match at Maracana. But in a team with Marta, Cristiane and Formiga anything is possible. So I must have faith…
Women’s football enthusiast based in Brazil. Supporting and raising the profile of the women’s game.