How Shipanga helped Lesotho women football develop

• By Michael Uugwanga

TOP FIFA accredited coaching instructor and Namibia’s own Jacqueline Shipanga is the main reason behind the success of women football structures in Lesotho, said Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) technical director Leslie Notsi.

As a result of Shipanga’s involvement, Lesotho today has 8 450 female footballers across the country who are playing in three different levels, notably in the Women Super League (Premier League) which consists of 10 clubs, the first division with 10 clubs and the district regional league which has 318 teams.

In an interview with Confidente Sport in Maseru this week, Notsi said if it was not for Shipanga who currently serves as the acting Namibia Football Association (NFA) technical director, women football in that country would not be where it is today.

Notsi who also highly rates Shipanga as one of the best football instructors not only in the region but in the world said that Shipanga is also his mentor.

He has been LEFA‘s technical director since 2018.

“For some time, Shipanga has been regionally assigned to Lesotho by FIFA to help facilitate women football coaching courses and also to advise in women football development programmes.

“Shipanga is someone who is determined to develop and grow women football. She is able to identify potential talent as far as coaching is concerned and nurture it. She gives opportunities to those upcoming and aspiring coaches; and shares knowledge even beyond her assignments because she has made herself available to assist whenever required,” said Notsi.

In 2012 Shipanga facilitated a FIFA introductory course for new female coaches in Lesotho, which was attended by teachers, ex-players and player-coaches.

In 2018, she also facilitated the FIFA advanced coaching course for coaches in women football the under Women Super League.

During her missions in Lesotho, Shipanga would look into women football programmes under technical department and advise accordingly.

The former Brave Gladiators mentor has helped the likes of Makobo Kepa, Puseletso Mokhosi, Thato Sentje, Fumane Matsie, Matseko Maanela and Lazaro Moroesi become Lesotho’s top footballers.

“We do have women coaches who went through her mentoring and have acquired CAF B and C licences, as well as coaches instructing certificates under CAF. About 60 have benefited, those were ex-players, player-coaches, teachers and women football coaches for WSL teams. They benefitted a lot in terms of administering their football teams and also improving their coaching skills. This is evident in most WSL teams which are now coached by at least a person with a FIFA coaching certificate.

“She’s been my mentor on my transition from being a coach to being a technical director. I would like to thank her for her selflessness, dedication and commitment to the development of football in Southern Africa particularly Lesotho. She has shown that she is a servant and student of the game,” said Notsi.