The inaugural South African Football Association (SAFA) Women’s National League (SWNL) will be officially launched at SAFA House on Thursday afternoon with action starting on Saturday at the Nike Centre in Soweto.

First Touch Academy and South Africa national team (Banyana Banyana) defender Noko Matlou says this is a big moment, especially for women like her who have been in football for over a decade without a professional league. Matlou is also excited that more girls will get exposure.

The 33-year-old believes Mamelodi Sundowns, Bloemfontein Celtic and Tshwane University of Technology are some of the teams to look out for citing the sides’ thorough preparation for the league.

Matlou’s side open their league account against a familiar opponent TUT on Sunday afternoon (12:30) with the player saying fans can expect some fire in that fixture.

Matlou adds that the opening weekend is going to be taxing on players, especially because most people including of the senior national team (Banyana Banyana) selectors are expected to be in attendance.

Matlou was part of the Banyana team that defended the Cosafa women’s cup for a third successive time in Port Elizabeth two weeks ago.

She only featured in two of Banyana’s matches as substitute against Malawi in the group stage and Zambia in the final.

The former African Woman Footballer of the Year says she had mixed feelings though her limited game time was explained.

– Report by Lethabo Kganyago