Elite soccer star Tabitha Chawinga strips naked to prove she’s female


  • One of the best female soccer players in the world said she was forced to undress during matches.
  • Tabitha Chawinga of Malawi said her opponents did not think she was a woman when playing games in her home country.
  • “I had never been so devastated and I cried in embarrassment”, she told the Guardian.
  • Visit the Insider homepage for more stories.

One of the most talented female soccer players, Tabitha Chawinga, says she has been forced to strip repeatedly during matches in her home country to prove she is a woman.

Chawinga, from Malawi, but who plays for Wuhan Jianghan University FC in the Chinese Women’s Super League, says she was forced to strip for the first time when she was only 13 when she was playing for a girls’ school team.

Her opponents did not believe that she was a woman due to her physical appearance and ability.

“I had never been so devastated and I cried at the embarrassment to which I had been exposed”, she told the Guardian.

“I wanted to leave right away, but my teammates somehow consoled me and I decided to end the game.”

After giving up the sport for a year because of the incident, Chawinga says it happened again soon after joining the DD Sunshine women’s football team in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe.

“We were in a Presidential Cup game and for our first game we went to Blantyre to play Blantyre Zero,” she said.

“It was a very difficult game and while it was being played I was stripped to the ground. I lost it then and we ended up losing the game too.”

Tabitha Chawinga performs in China

Tabitha Chawinga plays for her former club, Jiangsu Sunning.

Xinhua / Jiang Wenyao via Getty Images

David Dube, owner of DD Sunshine, said the club lodged a complaint at the time with the Football Association of Malawi, but had not received a response.

Chawinga herself has said she did not raise the issue with authorities because she felt too young, but now wants to tell her story to encourage change.

“When I was undressed I was young and didn’t know my rights,” she said. “But if we are talking about rights, they should be implemented.

“I encourage these women who have a passion for football that anything is possible. And being born different is not the end of the world.

“I call on women’s football officials to promote the well-being of women players by protecting their human rights.”

Alfred Gunda, general secretary of the Malawi Football Association who was not with the organization when the complaint was lodged by DD Sunshine, said, according to The Guardian: “What happened is not fair and we cannot excuse it. “

Chawinga, 25, was appointed on Chinese Women’s Super League Player of the Year for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons. In 2020, she was appointed one of the 100 best players on the planet according to the Guardian newspaper.


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