Ellis challenges Soweto giants to grow women's game
Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs do not have women’s teams and Ellis believes that the Soweto Giants can draw big audiences if they develop women’s football.
Ellis was in charge when Banyana competed in their maiden World Cup in France last year. In 2018 they were the runners-up at Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana.
Following their exploits, Thembi Kgatlana scooped the African Women’s Footballer of the Year gong in 2018 while Ellis captured Coach of the Year accolade in 2018 and 2019. Last year the South African Football Association launched the National Women’s Soccer League.
Speaking to the South African Football Journalists Association, Ellis called on Pirates and Chiefs to join the party.
“It is vital for Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates to form women’s teams. They also need to come on board and sponsors will also come on board. The only big team in England that didn’t have a women’s team was Manchester United. Now, they have the team. It was same with Real Madrid. You’ve seen how the Spanish leagues have grown and how the sponsorship has improved,” Ellis explained. Sasol’s support has contributed to Banyana’s growth. Kgatlana is with Portuguese giants Benfica, while Refiloe Jane is at Italian powerhouse AC Milan.
“I don’t want to use the word but PSL clubs should be forced to have women’s teams. And not just have a women’s team for the sake of having it, but give them support and the necessary development similar to what they are giving to their male counterparts. We will also see a huge shift in the mindset of people and sponsors will come on board,” she added.
Among the big three clubs only Mamelodi Sundowns has a women’s side.
“I know that Jessica Motaung (Chiefs marketing director) has been asked many times (about forming a women’s team) even by Fifa. I don’t know what is the stumbling block. I ask them once again to take women’s football to another level. Maybe they are still looking at the cost. If you see what they spend in the men’s team, the cost will be like a drop in the ocean. They already have so many women supporters. That (investing in women football) will help increase their fan base. If they come on board, it will change the landscape of women’s football in the country.”
Independent on Saturday