JOHANNESBURG – Having closely monitored the recently concluded Fifa Women’s World Cup, Amanda Dlamini believes the organisers of the soon-to-be-launched National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) can learn from the trends of the biggest football tournament.
This league is scheduled to run similar to the men’s PSL. Ten years ago petroleum giants Sasol ended their sponsorship with the SA Under-23 team and ventured into women’s football.
They form a semi-professional league - the Sasol League - and sponsored the senior women’s national team Banyana Banyana.
Players donned the national jersey with pride as Banyana qualified for the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations, Cosafa Championships, Olympic Games in 2012 and 2016, and the recently concluded Fifa Women’s World Cup.
“We were good and had raw talent at the time but we had limited resources,” former Banyana captain Dlamini said.
“Credit should go to the amateur coaches, Sasol and Safa for the way that they helped up to prepare for our international matches. Sometimes, we had to pay for our own kits and would go to training looking like peacocks because we couldn’t afford the training gear.”
The inception of a professional league excites Dlamini who urged corporates to join Safa in getting it off the ground.
In their maiden World Cup South Africa lost all three group stage matches against Spain, China and Germany.
But with Spain and China welcomed back home by corporates who want to uplift their football, Dlamini is banking on South Africans to follow suit.
With only Bloemfontein Celtic and Mamelodi Sundowns having female teams, Dlamini is adamant there could be a massive turnover for the league if the other 14 PSL sides joined the movement.
“That’s a story of another day. (But) if you look in the English Premier League, top teams such as Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United all have ladies’ teams.
So think of the impact that could have if we had teams - all the PSL sides with a ladies’ team in the league.”
Celtic and Sundowns will be joined by University Sport South Africa and the nine teams that played in the Sasol League nationals last year in the NWSL.@Mihlalibaleka