There have been fewer opportunities for young girls to participate in football competitions for the longest time in South Africa. That has impacted the grassroots development of the women’s game. However, Banyana Banyana’s outstanding results have forced institutions and the government to change the status quo.
The University of the Western Cape [UWC] launched the She-Bobo league – a soccer league established exclusively for girls under 8 and 10. This league is designed to address the gap in the women’s football fraternity in the country.
The South African Football Association president and UWC alumnus Dr. Danny Jordaan is delighted with the initiative and has said that the league will be very beneficial for young girls.
“It is a project we are certainly delighted about and will support. It's in the context of us making a bid for the Women’s World Cup in 2027. We are going to launch our intention to bid, and then a full bidding process will be outlined by FIFA... around the time that we will see the launch of She-Bobo. It is indeed a wonderful initiative,".
The university is home to some of the Banyana Banyana senior players. They have been a core contributor to the success of the national team. Jordaan alludes to the outstanding contribution the university has played to the success of the national team.
“UWC has made its contribution. More than 15 of our national team players come from UWC, both in terms of sport and education. Many of them are graduates, and it's no wonder that 80 percent of the Banyana team are graduates. It is something we encourage. We hope these girls, who at an early age, will eventually enroll at the University to continue their studies. This is one of the most important things; sport and education, and having an education,” he said.
The UWC Rector and Vice-chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, hopes that more universities can have such initiatives for young girls who are inspired to be professional sportswomen.
“We hope that She-Bobo becomes the blueprint for how universities around the country can engage communities through sport and become the drivers for social change as the anchor institutions in our society,” he said.
“As we celebrate our heroes as the WAFCON champions, we welcome the new cohort of future stars gracing our sporting fields in the She-Bobo at UWC league. We will be watching with great interest the progress of these little superstars, from goals to graduation gowns.”
The university wants to introduce special development training for the girls, where they will be providing playing kits and equipment, facilities, security, infrastructure, coaching workshops, referees, transport, meals, and refreshments.
The UWC Media and Marketing manager, Gasant Abarder, believe this initiative will be a game changer in the lives of these young girls off and on the field of play.
“We believe that creating a platform for junior girl footballers is an investment in young girl children. We want to be a game changer as a catalyst for social change and conduct to the girl child realizing her full potential – from excelling on the playing field to eventually graduating from UWC as a well-rounded citizen of the world. At UWC, we know how talented girl footballers are in a league of their own. We want to be their springboard for a whole new world that connects possibilities,” she said.
On the 22nd of October 2022, a showcase festival will be presented as a taste of what is to come. The girl footballers from ten clubs will be able to participate in a day of soccer fun at the UWC stadium.
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