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