Isabelle Yeboua : A Revolution for women’s rugby in Ivory Coast
Isabelle Yeboua : A Revolution for women’s rugby in Ivory Coast. Isabelle Yeboua had been fully involved in the development of rugby for women in Ivory Coast for the past 20 years. She is accepted and supported by the Capgemini Women in Rugby Leadership Programme.
Last March she received a confirmation that she was a beneficiary of the Leadership Programme and finally her second attempt paid off.
She felt that the reason for the confirmation was the interview where everyone noted that she was very active and was everywhere to develop rugby for women in her country.
A Sport unknown to her when she started
Rugby was an unknown sport to her but thanks to her teacher in school who introduced it to her and she started to attempt the game. The oval shape of the ball, the physical challenge in this sport was different from the handball and football she used to play, but soon she blossomed.
“Honestly, I cannot explain why I fell in love with rugby. It is beyond sport, it cannot be explained.” she says.
She was further encouraged by a teacher at a University in Abidjan with a feeling that she could contribute to the union.
Bringing Rugby to her country
What did not help Isabelle and her friends was the hindrance from the family at that time. Though she agreed that Ivory Coast is a fairly progressive county, the mentality of the parents to keep girls at home and not let them play any physical sport was the issue, and rugby was considered a violent sport. Another issue was that the number of competitions in women’s rugby was almost nil.
But she was determined not to give up. If a tournament was organized by the boys, then she and her friends would go and play a charity match. She wanted to organize friendly matches in front of everyone who gathered to watch an all boys’ match.
Her activism and commitment were observed by the federation. She was entrusted with the development of rugby for women in her country gradually.
She emphasized that she would like the grant to give her the resources so that she could strengthen everything she has knowledge about in order to formulate strategies to promote rugby for women in Ivory Coast. She also said that she has decided to become a sports manager so that she could manage a larger number of things.
She hopes to inspire and train other girls and help them to continue this work as there are no professional female rugby players in Ivory Coast.
Isabelle soon became a part of the staff of the first women’s rugby union team for Ivory Coast in Tunisia in 2021.
She was made an assistant to the coach and in the next year, she commenced the first women’s rugby league of her country with four teams.
“Thanks to the federation’s commitment, I will be in contact with dynamic, fighting women who are working all over the world.”World Rugby invited her to the Rugby World Cup 2021 which is set to be played in October and November 2022 in New Zealand.