Emma Mukandi, captain of Reading’s women’s team, has revealed she faked injury to hide her pregnancy, which she worried wouldn’t “go down well”.
WHAT HAPPENED? Mukandi gave birth to a baby girl in November 2021 and her recent comments have shone a light on the obstacles and lack of support women’s footballers who are also mothers can face.
WHAT THEY SAID: “I think at the time, there was nothing in the contracts to say there was anything in place so I didn’t want to tell anybody in case it didn’t go down well,” she said on Off the Ball’s COYGIG Podcast. “Then I had to fake an injury because I didn’t want to tell anyone I was pregnant until the 10-week scan. I felt that I had to go to training everyday because they were still paying me and I felt under pressure to be at the training ground every single day.”
“If a Sunday was to come and I couldn’t get childcare then I just can’t play that game. It comes down to whatever club you’re at. Like if you’re at an Arsenal or a Chelsea or a Man City and you’ve got loads of money, great facilities and that, having a baby there is not an issue at all but I think the lower down the league you go… it’s easier for club CEOs to be like ‘No, this isn’t happening.’”
AND WHAT’S MORE: She added that she doesn’t think “there is enough stuff in place to make women think ‘I could do it [have a baby]’.”