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SAFA in historic Women’s league launch

SAFA in historic Women’s league launch

The National Women’s League kicks off this weekend in Soweto but there is no clarity on prize money for the champions and monthly grants.

SA Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan and his vice Ria Ledwaba launched the league on Thursday but it emerged that they can’t commit themselves to any numbers because there is no sponsorship.

They are also still negotiating with broadcasters to secure a deal that will see some of the matches on television.

“In terms of the prize money‚ we are waiting for all the funding that we are expecting for us to put those numbers in place‚” said Ledwaba‚ adding that teams have been transported and accommodated by Safa for the opening weekend‚ to be played at Soweto’s Nike Centre.

“We don’t want to put those numbers and come and change them at a later stage. We have some time to be able to give the media the breakdown in terms of the numbers for the prize money as well as the grant.”

Banyana Banyana players train at the Santa Clara University in California as they prepare for the battle against the USA.

Banyana Banyana players train at the Santa Clara University in California as they prepare for the battle against the USA. 
Image: Banyana Banyana/Twitter

“Already the teams are accommodated – they have been brought here to Johannesburg for the opening weekend and they are not paying for that.

“Yes‚ when you have a sponsor you will be able to calculate the numbers and be able to look at giving them a particular grant so that they can be able to travel and be accommodated.

“Already that part has been achieved as their accommodation and transportation is covered.”

The league will start without a sponsor but Ledwaba said there is keen interest from a number of companies who want to invest in women’s football.

“We have appointed a marketing company and they are in the market already. I know that they have knocked on a lot of doors and a few times I was available I accompanied them and there is a lot of interest.

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis.

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis. 
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

“A few companies are now putting the numbers and we have engaged with government. We have the [2010 World Cup] Legacy Trust and national government has also committed to the league.

“We have MECs of all the provinces who will be able to assist in terms of hosting‚ because you know that the biggest expenditure of a football team is travel and accommodation.”

To be able to attract the much-needed sponsorship‚ Jordaan admitted that they are engaging broadcasters so that some of the matches are televised.

“The issue of TV is a big‚ big problem and we must say so.

“We are engaging the broadcasters to televise the matches – as journalists you have been writing about the blackout of football and women’s football has been blacked out for the past three years.

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“That is the problem that we have as a country. We want these matches to be televised because central to strengthening the commercial value and character of this league is television.

“Television is linked to sponsorship and we continue to work very hard with the hope that in the next month or so we will be able to get television coverage. If not full matches‚ then significant focus on these matches.

“But I think the general massage we want to give is that you cannot ignore women’s football. Banyana Banyana have won three consecutive Cofasa tournaments and it was on SuperSport and that’s it.

“This is the question that we have to raise – that one of our best-performing national teams has been blacked out.”

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