Girls get on the ball in run-up to World Cup

2010-04-28 00:00

WITH only 44 days to go until the Fifa 2010 World Cup kicks off, it’s only to be expected that schools are taking more of an interest in the sport. What is surprising, though, is the growing popularity for the sport among schoolgirls.

Girls’ football is fast turning into a must-do extramural activity, and some Pietermaritzburg-based schools are seeing a steady increase in the number of girls who want to play.

Alexander High, Carter High, Epworth High, Grace College, Linpark High, St Anne’s College, St John’s Diocesan School for Girls and The Wykeham Collegiate have all made girls’ football a part of their after-school curriculum.

Matches take place in the third term of the school year, but only as social games because there is no formalised league in Pietermaritzburg.

Brenda Franklin, who is in charge of girls’ football at Wykeham Collegiate, believes South Africa’s hosting of the World Cup has played a major part in encouraging an interest in the sport. Between 40 and 50 girls are playing soccer at the school.

“Not only has the interest in the sport grown, but it has motivated us to create more games and make the whole experience more formal,” says Franklin.

“We tried to get involved in a league. but it proved difficult, so games are still social.

Carter High sports co-ordinator Marie-Laure Johnson says the school is big on girls’ football.

“The school has six teams [about 75 girls], two each in the under-14 and under-16 age groups, and another two senior sides,” Johnson said.

Carter is the only local school involved in a proper league that organises regular fixtures for the girls, but the league is based in Durban.

“We are scheduled to play a lot of Durban and Hillcrest sides and the girls really enjoy the competitive nature of the matches,” said Johnson.

Les Willows of Epworth agrees that the advent of the World Cup has sparked an interest in the sport among schoolgirls. Thirty girls at Epworth have shown an interest in playing football, and the school has organised a mini-World Cup tournament that will take place on June 6. The tournament will see teams from independent schools representing a World Cup country competing against each other.


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