Sandisiwe Bhengu, Hollywoodbets Commercial Manager, SAFA President Danny Jordaan and SABC COO Ian Plaatjies. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Sandisiwe Bhengu, Hollywoodbets Commercial Manager, SAFA President Danny Jordaan and SABC COO Ian Plaatjies. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Women’s football gets much needed financial boost in historic partnership

By Mihlali Baleka Time of article published May 19, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - Safa president Danny Jordaan has lauded the decision taken by Hollywoodbets to become the first sponsor to back women's football after establishing the Hollywoodbets Super League.

Two years back, Safa formed the National Women's League which was an upgrade from the Sasol League. But they failed to find a sponsor as they had to fork out the winnings of R500 000 to champions Mamelodi Sundowns from their own pocket.

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But this week, Safa announced a historic partnership with Hollywoodbets who changed the National Women's League to the Hollywoodbets Super League. The partnership is for a period of one year, while Hollywoodbets will invest over R17million into the league.

From the R17m, the champions will pocket a cool cheque of R2m, the runners-up will bag R1m, while the rest of the teams will walk away with R150 000 at the end of the season. The queens-of-the-match will bag a cheque of R2000.

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The Coach and Young Player of the Season will each receive R50 000. Last season, Hilda Magaia was voted the Player of the Season, Andile Dlamini won the Goalkeeper of the Season award while Kananelo Taiwe scooped the Young Player of the Season.

Speaking at Safa House in Nasrec yesterday afternoon, Jordaan insisted that the partnership comes at a time when most people had written off Vision 2022, the pamphlet which also details the plans of the association on the development of women's football.

“We are very happy with what we have achieved. I am very happy that Hollywoodbets are sharing the vision and have decided to invest in it. I don't think there'd have been a better path for Hollywoodbets to take than this one," Jordaan said.

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“Today, we are focusing on what Vera Pauw identified as the missing link when she was here. She said ‘you have a provincial league called the Sasol League and the national team. But the gap is too big because I must pick the players from a provincial league'.”

The 14-team league format will remain as is. In addition, the winner of the league will play in the playoffs and qualifiers of the Caf Women's Champions League, while the winner of that tournament will go on and play in the Fifa Women's Club World Cup.

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“I think the 2019 World Cup has shown the growth, not just in commercial terms or television audiences, but that women's football has arrived and will certainly challenge the dominance of men's football which has been around for 90 years,” Jordaan said.

The growth of the Hollywoodbets Super League will come in handy in strengthening Banyana Banyana. Already the women's national team have qualified for most of the Africa Women's Cup of Nations and the World Cup two years ago.

“In the games where we had Zambia and Botswana in April, the idea was to have players from abroad because we had not seen them since 2019. But you saw the quality of the players that we have from the local league,” Banyana coach Desiree Ellis said.

@MihlaliBaleka

IOL Sport

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