Our Sports Editor continues with the conversation with the head coach for the South African national women football team Banyana Banyana. In the first part Desiree Elis spoke about the importance of getting coaching badges as well as highlighting the challenges faced at national level. This week she expands on what she thinks needs to be done to improve and promote women football in the country and the continent.

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis during the team media open day at Bedfordview Country Club Training GroundsPic Veli Nhlapo/Sowetan

The preparations that every team goes through to produce the final product is always determined by the intelligence and knowledge of the technical team in the game, coach Desiree always demands her team to stay true to who they are and play our own South African brand of football. Having players who play abroad like Refiloe, Hildah, Thembi Kgatla and Gabriela Salgado is an added advantage to the national team because of the experience they bring from different leagues. “We look forward to the experience of players playing abroad, you could see the experience from Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon when their players play abroad and that is why it is easier for us to match them now”.

Women coaches are plenty in the country, the University of Stellenbosch ladies team is coached by a woman (Jabulile Baloyi), the University of Pretoria ladies team is also coached by the former Banyana Banyana Captain Simphiwe Dludlu and a lot more women are coaches in the country and that is good for women football.

There has been talks of hosting the Fifa Women’s World Cup in the country in 2023 and 2027 and one thing we do have is infrastructure, but it would take a lot more than that to host this magnificent showdown. In the meantime SAFA is more focused on improving and developing the Sasol Women’s League which is SAFA’s provincial women’s football league which was formed in 2009 when Sasol and SAFA went into partnership in support of women’s football. The league comprises of 144 teams which compete within the nine provinces, with over 2800 female players competing on a regular basis.  7

The Sasol League is South Africa’s semi-professional women’s football league. Image: Sasol in Sports

CAF; recently put it out there that all teams participating in their continental competitions from 2022 must have a ladies’ team! This would really change the complexion of women football in every country including South Africa. We have seen Mamelodi Sundowns dominate by winning the Hollywoodbets Super League title, the Cosafa Regional title and the CAF Women’s Champions League to complete a treble. Hopefully one day we will bridge that gap with teams like Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs will come on board.

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