ABUJA: The Nigerian Football Federation has made an official complaint to the African governing body accusing Equatorial Guinea of fielding two men on its women’s soccer team.
“The protest is on. We have lodged our protest with CAF. We are waiting for the response,” NFF spokesman Robinson Okosun told The Associated Press on Thursday.
An official at the Confederation of African Football would not immediately comment on the issue.
Equatorial Guinea’s federation has denied the allegations against Captain Genoveva Anonma and striker Salimata Simpore, saying the claims stem from an “inferiority complex” among rival teams because of the recent success of the tiny West African nation.
Anonma, who plays for German club USV Jena, reportedly told the BBC that she has already been gender tested, which she found “offensive.”
Equatorial Guinea qualified for next year’s World Cup in Germany after it finished second at the recent African Women’s Championship in South Africa, losing 4-2 to Nigeria in the final.
Ghana and Cameroon also questioned the players’ gender in South Africa, but Cameroon’s football federation told The AP it had not made a complaint to CAF.
“No, we’re not thinking of filing a case against Equatorial Guinea,” spokesman Junior Binyam said. “We’ll wait to see what the outcome is and then we will know what to do.”
Equatorial Guinea won the 2008 African Women’s Championship at home after beating favorite Nigeria in the semifinals, becoming the only nation other than Nigeria to win the title. The team was also accused of fielding male players in that tournament.
“Accusations about the supposed presence of men are totally unfounded,” the Equatorial Guinea football federation said in a statement on Tuesday. “(We) consider the information issued as evidence of an inferiority complex.
“(The allegations) are by groups of people that watch with pessimism the progress made by Equatorial Guinean soccer.”
CAF will likely be under pressure to act, with FIFA unwilling to risk the embarrassment of men playing in the women’s World Cup.
Coincidentally, the accusations surfaced in South Africa, home to 800-meter world champion runner Caster Semenya, who has been involved in a high profile gender dispute.
Semenya, who was also accused of being a man competing as a woman, was subjected to gender tests by international athletics’ governing body and didn’t compete for 11 months before being cleared to run as a female in July.