Gertze excited by champions league

By Michael Uugwanga

THE head of Namibia Football Association (NFA) Women’s Desk and Council of African Football (CAF) women football executive committee member Jacky Gertze says the introduction of the CAF Champions League for women will be a huge development for the sector.

The CAF league will see women football being given more opportunities on the continent with a continental club tournament, of which Namibia will be a part of.

In July, the continent’s ruling body made a landmark decision to grow the women’s game with the creation of a women’s club event.

According to CAF president Ahmed Ahmed, the Women’s Champions league will consists of 10 to 15 clubs, meaning that CAF will select the top team from each member associate from the top female leagues on the continent.

Namibia’s women super league is currently ranked as the 10th most competitive women’s league on the continent.

In an interview with Confidente Sports Desk, Gertze, who is also a former player for the country’s senior women side, nicknamed the Brave Gladiators said the champions league will be an eye opener to most African football associations that have not been prioritising women the same way as men.

“The champions’ league first of all is a welcome development strategy in Africa’s women’s football as a result we have all welcomed the move and appreciate it with lots of excitement.  This means simply that women football will be receiving attention from FAs as in most cases women football has not been receiving the attention it deserves.

“The CAF Women champions’ league will also inspire women footballers to remain in club football training and FA league games successfully compete with their club fixtures every season. So, these are the only primary reasons why CAF’s strategic development through its champions’ league is of a very vital starting point”.

She also said that the CAF Women Champions League would help reward some of the efforts they have been advocating for and that is to promote the women’s game.

Gertze also said that the competition could open up local talent to better prospects. “They (players) will be seen more by international and local agents for professional contracts,” said Gertze.

Namibia only has three female footballers playing professionally abroad; Zenatha Coleman for Seville in Spain, Sandra Starke of FC Freiburg, Germany and Veweiziwa Kotjipati also in Germany for Monchengladbach.

Asked which Namibian club will be first  to represent the country at the inaugural league, Gertze said it is still early to comment as CAF is yet to propose the actual format of the champions league.

Tura Magic Ladies are the current holders of the Women Super League, while Namibia Police Force (NamPol) ladies are the inaugural winners of the Debmarine/NFA Women’s Super Cup, which is the FA Cup for women football in the country.

Gertze  also added that it is not only the CAF club competition that Namibia will competing in but also at regional level as the Council of Southern African Football Association (Cosafa) –of which Namibia is a member-, is planning to start with its own women’s club premier competition.

“It will be premature to now put this out there … as soon the format and guidelines have been approved, I believe that Cosafa and CAF will both share what the actual format and guidelines will be.

“Should Cosafa or CAF launch the club championship, one of the three teams namely, Tura Magic, NamPol and Galz &Goals will be eligible to play in the competition. Until then, let us embrace the initiative and locally advocate for the corporate world to support the Women Super League,” said Gertze.

The local Women Super League which was set to start in October has been postponed to February 2021; however the pre-season Women Super League Top 8 and other various tournaments are scheduled for November over three weekends depending on Covid-19 conditions.

Women football has been undergoing rapid transformation with all the junior teams regularly given time to prepare for international tournaments; however the Brave Gladiators have not seen lots of action due to lack of funding to compete.

NFA president Ranga Haikali is at the forefront of making sure that local women football is at the same level as that of other professional leagues on the continent such as the Nigerian women’s premier league, Ghanaian national women league, South Africa’s Sasol women’s national league, Kenyan women’s premier league and the Ethiopian women’s premier league, which are currently the best female leagues.