Women’s football has been struggling to hit the ground running for many years in South Africa, because of a lack of support and development. However, after Banyana Banyana was crowned Women’s African Cup of Nations, a small change started to emerge, and supporters have started to grow interested in the women’s game.
The Hollywoodbets league has been at the forefront of women’s football since 2019, and we have seen an improvement in the women’s game. Its establishment has helped to strengthen the level of competition, with 14 teams going head-to-head for the prize. However, more must be done to strengthen women’s football from the grassroots level to the higher ranks.
Banyana Banyana captain and WAFCON champion, Janine Van Wyk believes that if PSL teams would get in the notion of adopting women’s football in their establishments, that would greatly improve the quality of the players, and that would transform the level of competition in women’s football.
“I think it is good to have PSL clubs adopt a women’s team and make it their own, because the girls and the players will have access to the facilities that will professionalise their team. I think maybe in time there will be some PSL teams that will come on board and adopt women’s teams, which I think will be great.
“It’s been two years now that the Hollywoodbets League has been established so the league is still very young, but I do think over time there will be more PSL teams. If you look at it, I think the stand-alone teams are doing really well to sustain themselves within the Hollywoodbets League, they don’t have much support. Yes, we do get some sort of support from the association but it’s not enough, you have your universities that are fully covered and they have the facilities, they are able to pay their players monthly salaries, and you have the PSL teams that are able to do that, but the standalone clubs, it’s difficult to keep players.
“For instance, JVW is developing their own players but it’s easy for the likes of Sundowns and Royal AM to come on board and say we are able to pay you (player) ten thousand extra, and there’s nothing we can do. Of course, the player will go and play for more money and a more professionalised structure. If Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates would come on board, then you could have your Kaizer Chiefs ladies going against Sundowns ladies and that would make the league become more popular, and you will have more of the public taking interest in the league” Janine Van Wyk told ThisisFootball.Africa.
The reigning WAFCON champion believes that Banyana Banyana has set a benchmark in the country after winning the trophy. She acknowledges that there is support, but believes there’s still more that needs to be done, not only by the PSL teams but also corporate companies who support, but believes there’s still more that needs to be done, not only by the PSL teams but also corporate companies need to come on board.
“There’s still more that needs to be done, and we need the financial backing and support in the league, where sponsors come on board, and I am not saying Hollywoodbets need to pump more money, they are just the foundation of the league you know, the corporates need to come on board and back women’s football. They need to inject money into the football clubs to fully sustain themselves, to fully make a career out of the game you know, I think that is important for us as women.
“I feel like we have gotten to the point where we shouldn’t have a full-time job and also play football. We want to live like professional football players in our country. We want to be able to sustain ourselves with a full income from just playing football, and making a career out of it. Also, there is development in our country. I think that is also important and that’s where it is lacking at the moment, and it is that the clubs do not have enough development structures. And I don’t blame them because it’s hard enough, especially for a standalone club to sustain one team, and it is difficult to have development if you cannot sustain one team But the likes of PSL teams if they adopt a team, it is important for them to fully establish a development for girls.”