Tireless engine of inspiration and change through women’s football. The story of Evelina Cabrera, born in Argentina, is characterised by her fighting spirit and her priceless social contribution through sport. President of Argentinian Women’s Football Association (AFFAR), ontological coach, football manager, Nike ambassador and chosen as Change Maker in Argentina Summit 2017 by The Economist. In the next interview, Evelina describes her point of view about the evolution and challenges that women’s football face, especially in Argentina.
The Argentinian Women’s Football Association was created 4 years ago, for which you are president. How was Argentinian women’s football evolved since then?
We have been through many situations that make me think that women’s football has evolved consistently, as nowadays all social classes and ages practice it. From my perspective, the main challenge is the lack of a well-prepared planning from responsible entities in order to assure the right and committed people to manage women’s football. We need a solid base in youth football and the possibility to expand it throughout all the country the same was it has spread in Buenos Aires.
“I did not hesitate a minute to coach a blind women’s football team”
As football manager and ontological coach, you also promote women’s from a social perspective. How important is to work on this area?
Personally, I believe that this area is of vital importance. In Argentina, women’s football is still amateur and we do not know when it will become professional. Meanwhile, to strengthen it is necessary to work on the social and educational areas to ultimately improve sports performance. If we have players with conflicts at home, these problems are very likely to appear on the pitch. Likewise, it can happen the same if they do not have enough resources to travel and train. Besides, there is always the risk of getting injured and having to stop their sports career because they have not been studying or preparing to be coach or football manager. Thus, a player who has well covered her social and educational areas will be able to to play in a more professional way even though she is not professional.
Ambassador of campaigns as “Beauty for a purpose” for Avon and, currently, Nike athlete. ¿Are brands starting to get interested?
Sincerely, it was a surprise having these big brands counting with me, being football manager and coach I never imagined to be on the spotlight. I could have thought about it being a player, but I think that this happened because of the importance that is started to be given to women’s football. Brands are interested in women’s leadership and empowerment. I am convinced that more brands will join them, not only with me but the rest of players and managers within the country.
“Women’s football needs its protagonists to take the initiative”
In 2016, you started the fist blind women’s football team in Buenos Aires, ¿how did the chance come to you?
I really was something that I never imagined, it was not my plan to coach a blind women’s football team. However, nowadays, what I believe is it was indeed my plan to manage women, and so they are. In front of me there are women willing to play as the rest. When the opportunity cam to me I did not hesitate a minute even without knowing anything about it. Blind women’s football is very similar to traditional futsal, only with a few adaptations. I feel very grateful for all these opportunities sport has brought me.
As you declared in TEDx Tigre, “You can if you want”. ¿What does women’s football need to become what it deserves?
Women’s football needs its protagonists to take initiative, and we are already doing so. Some years ago, woman expected someone else to take care of and help her and today if women want something they just go for it. Women’s football grew to what it is nowadays thanks to its players. Currently, women have a different attitude and, with it, we will achieve the unanimously desired equality in football.