Sex Scandal: Female African players dropped in gender controversy
Two players from the Equitorial Guinea women’s team have been dropped after their Ghanaian opponents accused them of being men.
On the eve of the Women’s World Cup in Germany later this month, Salimata and Bilguisa Simpore have been omitted from the national squad in the wake of a victory over Ghana that the losing side believe had a lot to do with the manliness of a couple of their opponents.
“You only need to have physical contact with them to know this, and we can tell from what happened most times during the match,” said Ghana’s Diana Ankomah, according to an ESPN report.
Ghana captain Florence Okoe added: "It is not as if we are throwing sour grapes, just because we have lost. Rather, this is the fact and it is up to the organisers to do something about this. It is not good for African women's football."
It’s not the first time that there has been a protest over the gender of the Simpore ‘sisters’, as last year the Nigerian women’s team openly questioned whether or not they were actually females, but their protest was thrown out by African authorities.
The allegations have never been proven and CAF have refused to comment on the matter, but FIFA’s testing procedures are believed to substantially tougher than those in African football, which raises questions about their withdrawal so close to the World Cup.
Added to the debate over their sexuality, there is also further controversy over Salimata Simpore (pictured above), given that she is alleged to have previously represented both Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast at international level.
The Simpores have evoked sympathy amongst some figures in African football, however, with South African manager Fran Hilton Smith suggesting that the girls themselves may not be to blame.
"I think they are probably intersex and they think they are girls. That's the aspect that needs to be investigated," Hilton Smith, whose side were beaten by Equitarial Guinea at the African Championships last year, told The Guardian.
"FIFA has to come up with some specific medical gender tests to establish whether these players are intersex. If they have 100 per cent testosterone that definitely gives them an advantage. They shouldn't be banned but they should be helped," he added.
The controversy over the gender of the Simpore sisters is the latest to dog African sports. Last year, Caster Semenya was forced to take a gender test after winning the 800 metre race at the 2009 World Championship. .
On a lighter note, there is one team that will be taking part at the Women’s World Cup who have absolutely no gender issues whatsoever, hosts and tournament favourites, Germany. Check out a sexy promotional video they did prior to the tournament here.