File photo: Sydney Mahlangu / BackpagePix.

Women's football has received a major boost from Fifa with the announcement of a new six-strong board to oversee the game that could further see high flying Banyana Banyana play in more tournaments.

The development comes after Fifa president Gianni Infantino announced a drive to improve youth and women’s football infrastructure development in Africa. 

The announcement, made during his recent visit to Africa, follows his plans to expand the Women’s World Cup finals to 32 teams from 24 in 2023 and double the prize money to $60 million.  

Morocco’s leading female administrator, Khadija Ila will chair the new board to oversee the growth of the Women’s Super League and Second division, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) has confirmed.

Joining Ila on the high-powered panel are Hicham Soussi of Raja Ait Azza, AS Far’s El Bahia Yahmidi, Mohamed Salak of Club Sportif Atlas and second division club representatives Fadoua Chernane and Saleh Ould El Arabia.

The committee consists of two representatives of the division one clubs, one representative of the second division clubs, one representative of the referees' group, one representative of the coaches' group and one representative of the former players' group.

“Ila will chair the NWFF for the next four years as part of FRMF's strategy to develop women's football,” the FRMF said in a statement.

FRMF believes the Ila-led committee is a major step forward in the development of the women's professional game.

Buoyed by making history by captaining Banyana Banyana in the biggest football tournament on the globe, South Africa skipper Janine van Wyk recently said they will match the world beaters once the country implements a professional women’s football league.

The South Africans gave a credible account of themselves in their maiden Fifa Women’s World Cup but lost their three group stage matches due to defensive lapses and failure to capitalise when opponents were under pressure.

“We know and we could feel that the gap between us and such quality teams is slowly but surely closing, it’s just a matter of more development for us,” Van Wyk stated.

“These players get to play day in and out, at a high level. In South Africa, you have clubs that only train twice a week and sometimes they pitch up at games where the opposition doesn’t arrive. So, it’s very difficult for us to close that gap if there’s no proper development and league structures in place for us to get high competition every week.”

Morocco’s national women’s championship on the other hand is quite advanced, having twelve clubs in its division while the second tier has 33 clubs.

“The new joint board will look to support the federation further as it continues to grow participation in the women’s game. The committee has tremendous commercial and football expertise which will help transform the women's game in Morocco, growing audiences and revenue, and enabling it to become sustainable in the long term,” the federation added.

The Star