Province’s teams have mixed feel­ings about pro­fes­sional Women’s League

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SAFA’S (the SA Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion) pro­posal to in­tro­duce a uni­fied and pro­fes­sional Sa­sol Women’s league in the new 2018 sea­son has had a mixed re­cep­tion among af­fil­i­ate clubs in the far flung towns of the Province.

Late last month Safa’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC) held an ex­tra­or­di­nary congress in Gaut­eng. One of the res­o­lu­tions com­ing out of that congress stated that the or­gan­i­sa­tion would in­tro­duce a pro­fes­sional league for women.

The Safa congress ap­proved the cre­ation of the new Women’s Na­tional League which will be made up of all nine pro­vin­cial sides. It will also in­clude women’s teams from the likes of Premier Soc­cer League sides Mamelodi Sun­downs, Bloem­fontein Celtics and a Univer­sity Sports SA (USSA) side.

The congress also noted that there were sev­eral other PSL teams who have shown an in­ter­est in form­ing women’s teams. Ac­com­pa­ny­ing that res­o­lu­tion was Safa’s in­ten­tion, ex­pressed at the congress, to in­crease the num­ber of the Na­tional (Women’s) League teams from 12 to 16 in the year of its op­er­a­tion.

At present in the North­ern Cape there are 16 fe­male teams reg­is­tered to play in a non-pro­fes­sional league, spon­sored by Sa­sol. In pre­vi­ous years Safa helped NC teams to over­come the vast dis­tances be­tween towns by split­ting the Sa­sol league into a coastal and in­land stream, with each stream hav­ing eight teams. This tac­tic sig­nif­i­cantly shrunk the dis­tances the teams had to travel to honour fix­tures.

Re­spond­ing to the Safa pro­posal about a uni­fied, pro­fes­sional women’s league; Amic­hand Am­s­ter­dam, who heads up Rich­mond United FC in the town sit­u­ated about 400 kilo­me­tres south of Bloem­fontein, said: “It’s go­ing to be dif­fi­cult. We will have to travel as far as Spring­bok which is more than a 1 000km away.”

Am­s­ter­dam re­counted some other towns that his club will have to travel to in or­der to honour fix­tures. “The other is Keimoes 600km, Ku­ru­man and Kathu 700km, as well as Kimberley which is 400km away from Rich­mond.

“But I am go­ing to cope,” he added. “It will be good for the play­ers as they will get more game time.”

On the other hand Kimberley based Cru­saders Ladies FC’s man­ager coach Le­bo­gang Zakie Si­nombe said he was aware of plans to in­tro­duce a pro­fes­sional league. “I know about it. The new league is go­ing to be chal­leng­ing. I don’t have a spon­sor nor a busi­ness. I have no­body to help me. I don’t think I’m go­ing to con­tinue. I am not cer­tain. I will ask the (Sol Plaatje) Univer­sity to merge with us. They want sta­tus and we need them. I am not sell­ing but want a co-op­er­a­tive agree­ment.

It’s go­ing to be ex­pen­sive to travel to Spring­bok for in­stance. The last time it cost about R12 000 (in diesel costs), now it’s more than that be­cause of changes in the diesel price. Safa only gives us

R30 000 yet we need about R100 000 per year to get there (to fix­tures).

“It’s a nice thing (the pro­fes­sional league). I wish to play in the pro­fes­sional league but I dont have the money,” he added.

Dick­son Matho­bela, who man­ages Galeshewe Ladies FC, com­mented at a pre­vi­ous in­ter­view that the travel be­tween towns to honour fix­tures was go­ing to crip­ple many clubs. He said he only coped with the dis­tances to travel to fix­tures be­cause his team has its own bus which he had bought him­self. How­ever, he was op­ti­mistic that the pro­fes­sional league would in­ject a much-needed foot­ball en­ter­tain­ment el­e­ment to the Province which was poorly sourced with such ameni­ties.

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