Women serving in football are determined to change the landscape of the sport in South Africa.
A group of prominent administrators have converged for a four day FIFA and SA Football Association (SAFA) women’s administrators course in the south of Johannesburg.
The course has attracted women from all of SAFA’s 52 regions. The third edition of FIFA’s administrators course has attracted about 100 women from all over the country.
The course is funded by FIFA and is facilitated by FIFA instructor Ebro Koksal.
It does not only cater for regional executive officers of SAFA, but also accommodates women referees, as well as coaches.
SAFA’s Assistant Technical Director, Fran-Hilton Smith says: “We’ve got nearly 100 women here at this workshop and the idea is that they go back and implement in their regions. Women’s football is growing and of course the national executive council made a ruling that in each province there has to be a woman’s vice president, in the lfa’s. So in this workshop we have a lot of women who’ve been empowered”
The SAFA administration is slowly transforming, with the number of women serving in the National Executive Council having multiplied in recent years.
SAFA’s NEC Member, Quincy Letsoalo says: “In my perspective as an administrator in local government I think we are going to do more because there are avenues in local government where we can bring more women. For example we have Sascoc which is also assisting in terms of bringing more women into sport especially these male dominated sport like football, rugby, and cricket”.
Emma Hendricks, who hails from Upington in the Northern Cape, became the first woman to be elected president of a SAFA region two years ago.
Despite all the challenges, Hendricks believes women have a lot to offer in football administration.
Hendricks says: “I think SAFA is getting there we are now five in the NEC. Five ladies we are getting there. Maybe next time we are going to be the majority because all four of us or three of us were in the five best first positions in the elections”.
One challenge facing these women, is attracting sponsorship for women’s football and the only way to change the current state of affairs is for women’s teams to continue to excel.
Banyana Banyana Coach, Desiree Ellis says: “We have to qualify for big tournaments. We have to do well at these tournaments because that is the only way to raise your level and raise your standard. You know we haven’t won Afcon, we haven’t qualified for the World Cup yet. So, we’ve got to do that because that will only open up more doors”.
The four day workshop concludes on Thursday.