TALKING FOOTBALL

2015-08-27 06:00

A LOT has been said by experts concerning women empowerment. Personally, having a women state president will not signal any positive development on the part of many poor women in this country.

Our public and private sectors have a fair number of women in top positions. Are they representing many of our poor sisters, aunts, mothers and grandmothers or themselves? Actions speak louder than words.

The sad reality is that those in influential positions tend to think more about self-enrichment. Whether women can represent other women better than men is a debate for another day. Women in sport should feel let down by women leaders in government and the corporate world. It is interesting that even those in powerful Safa positions have done absolutely nothing for women footballers. I doubt if they ever kicked a ball in their lives. Football needs leadership that has played the game.

There are too many people in the game elected for their good English understanding rather than their football experience and passion. The sooner women who have played football take leadership positions, the better for the future of the ladies game.

The employment of a Dutch coach for Banyana Banyana shows that we are out of touch with reality. It is like putting an expensive roof on a house lacking proper foundation. The majority of young girls in South Africa play football under terrible conditions. There are no football facilities, no coaching, lack of proper equipment and non-existent women football structures. Why was male coach, Joseph Mkhonza, kicked out of position if South African women were not yet ready? Why is it a problem for our daughters to be trained and coached by their fathers, uncles or grandfathers? Currently teams playing in the provincial league have serious financial problems. I think calls for a professional league are misguided. It would be like establishing universities while there are no junior schools.

A number of teams have closed shop in the past few years because of challenges like transport, training facilities and facilities for competitions. There are major challenges for football in general.

Imbali, one of the biggest townships in KwaZulu-Natal, does not have a football club. Stage one alone used to have more than seven clubs. Interestingly, these clubs had about five teams each.

Zipho illustrated it brilliantly in his last article how apartheid influence has destroyed our minds. We call for more black players in the rugby national team while facilities of football are in disrepair. I still have to see a school from our townships and rural areas playing in a schools’ rugby league.

It is only the sons of the black elite who play rugby in formerly white schools. The issue of the language in South Africa serves as a powerful tool for the elite. The power rests in the hands of those who are articulate in English, hence the cries about rugby instead of women’s football.

It does not help to have English-speaking ladies in Parliament and boardrooms while girls struggle under terrible sporting conditions. The apartheid fathers made sure that Afrikaans girls played netball under healthy conditions. What have we done to improve playing conditions for a black girl child? Who are those powerful ladies representing if black girls in sports continue to suffer?

We cannot talk football development if girls are excluded in the programmes. It is about time that power is returned to the grass-roots people - they need to speak for themselves instead of being represented by those who have no idea about their challenges. Unzima lo mthwalo

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