Women soccer league kicks off in Feb

By Michael Uugwanga

THE women’s football league, known as the Skorpion Zinc Namibia Football Association (NFA) Women Super League, is expected to kick off on 19 February as negotiations between the Namibia Football Association (NFA) Women’s Desk and potential sponsor Skorpion Zinc are nearing completion.

This was said by the general-manager for women football in Namibia Jacky Shipanga in an interview with Confidente Sport recently. The Skorpion Zinc NFA Women Super League ended in May last year. Tura Magic Ladies are the current holders of the Super League Cup, when they won the title ahead of second-placed team NamPol Ladies team.

Last season the Women Super League consisted of 10 teams, Tura Magic Ladies, Khomas NamPol, UNAM Bokkies, NUST Babes, Namib Daughters, Omaheke Queens, Galz and Goals, RightWay,V-Power Angels and Girls Football Academy.This time around there will be 12 teams that will battle it out for top honours after the inclusion of Ramblers Ladies and Arrows Ladies team.

Last season Skorpion Zinc signed a one-year sponsorship agreement to become the overall sponsor of women football with a reported amount of N$750,000, while FIFA gave a reported N$250,000 as part of FIFA’s development support towards the promotion of football amongst women.This year it is unlikely that FIFA will give such an amount to the NFA for women’s football until the NFA finalises its elective congress where new leaders are supposed to be elected to lead the association into a new era.

The NFA is currently being run by the Normalisation Committee appointed by FIFA to stabilise the association until a new leadership is appointed, with the elective congress slated for late February.

“Negotiation is still ongoing with Skorpion Zinc. There is a huge possibility that we will have the league this season.

We want to launch the league on 13 February and start the league on 19 February. We will have twelve teams and not ten. Ramblers and Arrows have expressed their interest in the league,” Shipanga said.

“We want also the NFA to assist us, not with money but at least with the Sam Nujoma Stadium, by speaking to the Municipality of Windhoek, because it makes it so difficult for our players when playing for the Brave Gladiators at the Sam Nujoma to up their game because when you look at the NFA’s technical centre, when a player makes five steps she is already in the penalty box, unlike at the Sam Nujoma whereby the player would have to make extra steps to be in the penalty box.

“We want our players to get that exposure when playing for the national team because at the NFA technical centre, the players only give 70 percent, but playing at the Sam Nujoma Stadium they will at least give extra percentage. We also want derby matches, such as the one between Tura Magic Ladies vs Khomas NamPol Ladies, or UNAM Bokkies vs NUST Babes… at the Sam Nujoma Stadium.

“Imagine playing at the Sam Nujoma Stadium will cost us N$4 000, the same amount as playing an international match away. What we also want is to work together with Namibia Premier League clubs to adopt female clubs,”said Shipanga.

“We also want to have a first division female league, whereby our female clubs would need to adopt schools, of which we can form a first division with the top two schools getting promoted to the Super League. For now we will not have a relegation or promotion until we have a first division.”

She also warned clubs that in the near future, only qualified coaches would be allowed to coach in the Super League as she wants to see Namibian women football turning professional, like that in South Africa and other parts of the continent.

Shipanga also thanked the NFA’s women desk and its partners Skorpion Zinc and UNICEF for having played a vital role in promoting women football.

“They really played a big role in promoting women football.”

Meanwhile, the country’s U-20 women’s national team will play Botswana in the first leg match in Windhoek this Sunday, with the return leg set to take place towards the end of this month.The FIFA Women U-20 World Cup tournament will be co-hosted by Costa Rica and Panama in August.