There is something intriguing and exciting about the rise of women’s football in South Africa. With more and more players now plying their trade in some of the world’s top leagues.
Historically, South Africa has never had a professional women’s football league until last year. This coincided perfectly with the country’s annual celebration of Women’s Month — a celebration of women in society.
While South Africa may not have had a professional women’s league, the country’s national setup has flourished.
The national team competes at Under-17 and Under-20 levels. But the senior team — nicknamed “Banyana Banyana” — has represented South Africa in multiple tournaments.
These include the COSAFA Women’s Championship Cup, African Women’s Cup of Nations and, more recently, a debut at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
They are currently ranked third in Africa and 53rd in the world according to FIFA.
Despite unfair gender disparities, South Africa’s female footballers have attracted interest from professional leagues all over the world.
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In South Africa, the playing field is not level for young female footballers to rise up through development.
But a new semi-professional league, established in 2009, gave women an opportunity to pursue a future in football.
The Sasol league consists of 2800 footballers playing in 144 teams across the nine provinces in South Africa.
It has made it easy for scouts and the national coaches to assess players.Embed from Getty Images
The league has been steadfast in making sure that women’s football thrives in South Africa, despite very little corporate sponsorship.
It was therefore humbling to witness the launch of the South African Football Association (SAFA) National Women’s League, which signaled a new era.
The fully-professional league aims at the development and growth of the game for South Africa.
There is still so much more that still needs to be done. But with 27 players now playing professionally in Europe and the United States, opportunities are aplenty.
The rise of women’s football in South Africa continues to accelerate but there is still much more to be done. For now, the future looks bright.