FIFA impressed with South Africa's efforts to grow women's football
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CAPE TOWN - A FIFA delegation, including Secretary-General Fatma Samoura and Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Bareman, kicked off an itinerary of meetings in South and Eastern Africa on Sunday to highlight FIFA’s commitment to developing the female game throughout the continent.
At a visit to the South African Football Association (SAFA) headquarters located at the iconic Soccer City, the delegation met by SAFA President Danny Jordaan and attended a Constitutional Workshop for Gauteng, Limpopo, North West & Mpumalanga provinces.
In her address to participants, Fatma Samoura highlighted the necessity to put the group’s talks on empowering women into action by using their voices to help FIFA and CAF raise African women’s football to the highest levels.
We had the pleasure of hosting @FIFAcom Secretary General, @fatma_samoura at SAFA House where she was briefed on Women’s Football development in 🇿🇦 by SAFA COO, @LydiaMonyepao. Also present at the meeting was FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer, @SarBareman. Engaging ⚽️ dialogue pic.twitter.com/CAM182Wihg— SAFA.net (@SAFA_net) September 4, 2021
The delegation then met with staff from the FIFA Regional Development office, before SAFA’s Chief Operating Officer and former FIFA Women’s Leadership Programme alumni Lydia Monyepao, as well as Banyana Banyana Head Coach Desiree Ellis, presented the group with an overview of the current status of women’s football in South Africa.
The SAFA representatives briefed the delegation on how they have successfully linked women’s football to education, with 85 per cent of the national team holding at least one university degree. They also underlined how encouraging their female youth and senior teams to enrol and stay in education has made them more resilient, team-spirited and better able to cope with the pressures of playing for the national team in particular.
Thank you @SAFA_net Pres. & team for the insightful talks & your commitment to pushing 🚺s⚽️ in 🇿🇦further. I believe that we have the power to make positive change to society by advancing the female game & empowering women through ⚽️. @SarBareman pic.twitter.com/phRKNgiSrV— Fatma Samoura (@fatma_samoura) September 3, 2021
Speaking about SAFA’s approach to women’s football FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said: “It is heartening to hear the commitment and hard work you have put into nurturing and developing women’s football and your girls. Education and football play a tandem role in advancing women’s confidence and empowerment.
“There are tremendous strides that we can make together through football to tackle the gender-based violence your country experiences, as well as promoting greater self-esteem among girls and women. FIFA will work hand in hand with you to make this a reality.”
Talks also focused on the readiness of the national team for its potential qualification for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 ™.
FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Bareman said on the subject: “As the FIFA Women’s World Cup has expanded to 32 teams for its ninth edition in 2023, we want to make sure that we not only see South Africa build on their experience at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019, but other African national teams qualify to reach the ultimate global competition for women’s football.
"We will work with SAFA to draw on their experiences and use this knowledge to support and nourish other women’s national teams throughout the continent to make this happen.”
Following the visit to SAFA House, the President of CAF, Dr Patrice Motsepe, held discussions with the FIFA delegation. He asked what kind of collaborative strategies could be put into place between CAF and FIFA to prepare more African women’s national teams to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
"Fatma Samoura emphasised the importance of more tournaments for women throughout the continent, like the CAF Women’s Champions League, to provide players with more competitive experience.
On Saturday, the delegation first attended the finals of the Under-15 Girls Schools Tournament. It is a legacy project of the CAF Women’s Champions League COSAFA Qualifiers, at King Zwelithini Stadium, Durban.