by Agnes Amondi
Africa joins Europe, Asia and South America in the establishment of a clubs continental competition.
European clubs have contested the UEFA Women’s Champions League, formerly named UEFA Women’s Cup since 2001 and is the oldest football club association women’s competition.
The Copa Libertadores Femenina in South America has been organised since 2009 by CONMEBOL, South America Football Federation whilst the AFC Women’s Club Championship launched in 2019 and is in its second year.
As CAF lays down its plans for its own women’s club competition, this is how the continent reacted to its endorsement
The Gambian Football Federation (GFF) head of women’s football Sainey M’boge hailed the decision to establish the CAF Women’s Champions League. She believes it will provide the platform to unearth talent that is otherwise hidden.
In an interview with football website Goal, M’boge views this as an opportunity to drive interest in women’s football, domestically & internationally.
“It will also give more exposure and experience to coaches, players, and administrators, whose dream now will be to play in the champions league,”
“We will see the emergence of new stars instead of the usual dominant clubs that you find in the men’s game,” M’boge told Goal.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Women’s Football Development Officer Doreen Nabwire, speaking to soka25east said the move is a “step in the right direction”.
The former Harambee Starlets captain further examined the approval as an encouragement to build proper structures, raise the standards of women’s football and enhance the quality of competitions that will result in better representation at the world stage.
“This is a step in the right direction.
We need to have more competitions in place in order to raise the standards of Women Football across the continent.” Nabwire opined.
“This move will encourage Member Associations to put up good structures for Women Leagues in their respective countries.”
“It will also inspire a regional club championships, all of which will help enhance competitions and allow growth and development that will later guarantee good representation on the world stage.” She concluded.
At the same time, FKF’s Vice President Doris Petra expressed her delight as she told Goal that “it is the best thing that has ever happened to women’s football.”
The Vice chairperson of the Ghana Women’s Premier League Rosalind Koramah Amoh termed the approval of the Women’s Champions League a “Good Call”. On her official twitter account, Amoh posted:
“Good call CAF. Cancelling 2020 AWCON is in order. No hosts yet, no qualifiers played and COVID-19 has made it impossible for teams to come together to train. Now teams can plan properly and prepare towards AWCON 2022 which will be crucial qualifiers for 2023 WWC.”
The Chairperson of Nigeria Women’s Football League (NWFL) Aisha Falode applauded CAF for their proposed Women’s Champions League.
“This is a very good move and initiative from CAF. It’s long been expected. People have advocated for it and desired it on the continent for the young women who continue to play good football all around Africa.”
“When people say that we do not have the required number of teams to play the Women’s CAF Champions League, I wonder where they would get that notion from. At least 35 countries across the continent have organised women’s football leagues being played.”
“Even if we don’t have that required number, 35 out of about 55 countries is way above average for a good number to start the CAF Women’s Champions League.” Falode explained to Kick442.com, a local sports website.
South Africa Football Association (SAFA) President Dr. Danny Jordaan and Acting CEO Tebogo Motlanthe praised CAF’s decision to establish a Club Women’s Champions League.
Motlanthe said it is a huge boost for women’s football in the country as it aligns with the South Africa Association’s Vision 2022 blueprint.
“This will be a major boost for SAFA’s National Women’s League (SNWL) and for women’s football in general in our country. I also would like to pay tribute to SASOL for their support of women’s football over the last 10 years.”
“These milestones for SNWL and CAF Club Champions League could not have been realised without SASOL’s huge support,” said Motlanthe.
SAFA’s chair of the Women’s Football Committee, Emma Hendricks, and Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis were both excited at the latest development in CAF with regards to women’s football.
“This is a huge boost for women’s football in general and I believe this will make our national teams more competitive,” said Hendricks.
Ellis said by participating on the continent, women’s football in the country will go a notch up.
“This can only help our national teams to grow from strength to strength and I would like to wish inaugural champions Mamelodi Sundowns all the best,” said Ellis.
Mamelodi Sundowns will become the first South African club to participate in both the male and female versions of the CAF Club champions League.