Africa’s Women Footballers Want More Continental Competition By Cheryl Roberts

30 Jun

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For a long time, Africa’s women footballers have been calling for pro national leagues in their countries and more continental competition for women’s football. With directives coming from FIFA, continental football controlling bodies are being forced to increase women’s football competitions. CAF is also under pressure to introduce more competitions for African women’s football.

Until now, CAF hosts only the AWCON, every two years and the Olympic qualifiers, which it must host. The AWCON championship doubles up, every four years, as a women’s world cup qualifier event. Women footballers have also been calling for a continental club championship that will see national league champions play in this event. It’s now on the agenda of CAF (for today’s meeting); for a women’s club championship to be hosted by CAF.

And already, Africa’s women internationals have responded and welcomed this competition being on the agenda.

Africa’s ‘woman footballer of the year’, Asisat Ashoala of Nigeria, told CAF, in a tweet on social media to go ahead and ‘START IT.’

She also mentioned increasing team participation in the continental club competition. ‘Increase the number each year until others catch up.’

South Africa’s only 2020 captain thus far, Lebogang Ramelepe says ‘This is sounding good. Ya, CAF must introduce this championship. We need it’.

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Both Asisat Oshoala and Lebogang Ramelepe also added that the continental championship should be introduced with adequate financial support so the players could be looked after and be able to compete and participate without having to travel long distances by road and play for no play.

Said Asisat Oshoala ‘but pls WELFARE should be a priority.’

The establishment of professional national women’s football leagues must also be prioritised, say the women footballers.

‘Our national national leagues must be turned into pro leagues and get funded and sponsored so we start from within our national federations playing pro football’, says Lebogang Ramelepe. ‘And the CAF champions league must be sponsored so the women footballers can get paid and concentrate full-time on playing football.’

The possible introduction of the African women’s football champions league also excites Zethembiso Vilakazi, South Africa’s u19 and u20 international player.Dk-iT28XoAEhP-K

We want more football competition so we can regularly play with the top teams and players. This will improve our game and make us better performers at international competitions like the World Cup and Olympics,’ said Zethembiso Vilakazi, the only player to score a goal for South Africa at the 2018 u17 girls football world cup.

Former African ‘woman footballer of the year’, South Africa’s Noko Matlou also welcomes the advent of an African women’s champions league. ‘This can only take women’s football forward. But we must be financially secure with this tournament. We can’t be worrying about money for travelling and accommodation when travelling out of our countries. And the players must get paid. We must know that our needs are taken care of and we not left worrying about other things. Then we can concentrate on the football,’ says Noko Matlou.

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It’s very clear that CAF must do much more for women’s football in Africa. National federations in Africa must do much more for women’s football in their countries. And the women footballers are tired of getting the crumbs; want much more done to advance women’s football.

There you have it CAF. Get women’s football moving forward throughout Africa. Instruct all your members to improve and advance the state of women’s football.

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