Footballer Genoveva Anonma had to strip to prove her gender
Instead of being treated as a star, Equatorial Guinea was treated to humiliations when the rivals questioned her gender in 2008 African Women’s Championship. The scorer of the winning goal was asked by Confederation of African football (CAF) to strip down in front of a huge crowd to satisfy the doubts raised on her.
She told BBC Sportshour, “They asked me to take all my clothes off in front of officials from CAF and the Equatorial Guinea team.
“I was really upset, my morale was low and I was crying. It was totally humiliating, but over time I have got over it.”
The accusations were thrown at the footballer because the rivals felt she was too energetic and powerful.
While growing up in Equatorial Guinea, she was treated as an outcast because of her desire to become a footballer. The situation at home was no different – her mother wanted her to finish her Master Degree and become a teacher or help children.
“When I was five years old in my village the girls didn't accept me because I just wanted to play football, so I always used to play with the boys,” says Anonma.
“My dad was living in another city with another woman and my mum didn't want me to have anything to do with football. She wanted me to study for a Masters, become a teacher, or help children.
“I had some serious problems with her. She told me she didn't want to see me again.
“Eventually, I went to live with my uncle. He took me to the city so I could carry on studying and playing football.”
The golden opportunity
Anonma had her golden opportunity when she was 15 years old, she was signed for the local team in 2002. Within a year, she was transferred to FC Jena in the German Bundesliga from Mamelodi Sundowns. She got spotlight at FC Jena by being the team’s top scorer for two years in a row.
The rising star was thrown back into her worst nightmare after Equatorial Guinea booked their place at the 2011 Women’s World Cup as her team made a run to the finals of 2010 African Championship. The winning team Nigeria along with South Africa and Ghana, accused Guinea of having three men in their team. The accusation made headlines and Anonma was dragged into the fiasco with the sisters Salimata and Bilhuisa Sampore.
Anonma’s statement at that time was, “These accusations come because I am fast and strong, but I know that I am definitely a woman.”
Biggest frustration and future ambition
Till date, Anonma has never been permitted to undergo a gender test to silence the allegations thrown at her. She mentions this to be her biggest frustration. “I was hoping they would call me to tell me they were taking me to hospital to do tests, but they never did,” she said.
“They did nothing to me. It was just down to me alone to defend myself, to state that I am not a man, I am a woman.”
Her future ambitions are to play in France or Sweden as she revealed that she is not yet ready to return home where she is treated as a hero. Despite the heavy allegations, she manages to tear ahead against the winds.