Sundowns boss Motsepe welcomes looming formation of more ladies teams by PSL clubs
As part of empowering the girl child, improving women’s club football and advancing its professionalism on the African continent, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) has resolved that teams with no ladies sides will not be allowed to participate in future continental club competitions from the 2022/23 season.
This means Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs which do not have ladies teams and have aspirations to play in future Caf Champions League and Confederation Cup competitions will miss out unless they have female teams in place before the end of the current 2021/22 season.
While the Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies team is fresh from conquering the continent after defeating Ghana’s Hasaacas Ladies 2-0 to win the inaugural Caf Women’s Champions League crown in Cairo on Friday, their rivals in the men’s game, teams like AmaZulu, Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United among others, do not have female teams in the professional ranks and are scrambling to establish them.
Bloemfontein Celtic and Sundowns have had ladies teams for years and play in the Safa Hollywoodbets Super League, and are the only clubs in good standing with Caf’s new club licensing statute.
While the addition of PSL clubs Chiefs and Pirates in particular, will be welcomed in the Super League, Sundowns chairman Tlhopie Motsepe said to establish and run a ladies team is not as easy as many think.
Sundowns have had their ladies team since 2009 and Motsepe said PSL clubs will find it is not “plug and play”.
“First of all it is important to give those clubs the due respect to make that decision as to whether they would like to have a formation of their ladies team,” said the 32-year-old Sundowns chairperson.
“It is not as easy as simply registering the team and then it is there. This is a process and it is very difficult and costly.
“There is the playing on the field, office and management, establishing practice fields, the home ground, coaches, support staff. These are all the things and budget are required to have a ladies team.
“We would not want to put any pressure on the teams to do it and I am sure a lot of PSL teams are looking at this seriously, so we don’t need to rush them.
“As Sundowns we are proud we have been doing this for more than a decade.”
The Sundowns Ladies team are defending champions of the Safa Super League and on the cusp of wrapping a second successive title. They are also the newly crowned winners of the first edition of the Caf Women’s Champions League.
“It is not necessarily an advantage because we have been doing this before other teams,” said Motsepe.
“For us it is about making sure n all divisions of the club we strive for excellence to be the best.
“This is part of our club’s duty to the country to make sure we have a strong women’s team.
“It is great this Caf statute is there.
"It will provide more possibilities for us and the country and we hope and encourage, not just the clubs to invest in football, we also call on institutions.”
During his campaign and after his election as Caf president, Motsepe’s father Patrice Motsepe vowed to improve African women’s football during his tenure in office.
“We want women’s football, in the period of my presidency, to be significantly growing, progressing and prospering,” Motsepe senior was quoted as saying during his campaign trail.