Two South African lesbian soccer teams are determined to attend important gay and lesbian sporting events in North America in the coming months.

The Chosen Few teams, led by Forum for Empowerment of Women activist and photographer Zanele Muholi, consist of mostly impoverished and unemployed young township women who have found renewed purpose and self respect in the game of soccer.

Muholi has urgently appealed for the community to support their efforts to make it to the events.

One of the teams has already received almost full sponsorship to the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago in July from the event organisers. The sponsorship will pay for 10 players to travel and stay in the city for the Games, but excludes the costs of visas (almost R700 per person) and transport to and from airports.

The other Chosen Few team has received a partial sponsorship from the 1st World Outgames in Montréal, also in July. This only covers accommodation and registration and does not include flights or other costs.

Both teams are also looking for support in areas such as the provision of insurance and proper soccer kits. So far, attempts to raise money in South Africa to support the teams have come to naught.

Muholi insists that it is in the interests of the community to support Chosen Few. While some athletes from South Africa will be participating in the games – usually privately self-funded and in their personal capacity – Chosen Few members don’t even have the resources to pay for their visas.

Muholi says that it is important have representative faces from South Africa in attendance. She believes that participation by the teams would affirm South Africa’s commitment towards LGB sport development following the bid to host the 2010 Gay Games in Johannesburg.

“If we can’t even raise money in South Africa for these women, how can we hope to raise the money to actually host the games?”, asks Muholi.

Contact Zanele Muholi on 083 593 4038 if you can offer any support.

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