BY ANITA RANNOBA
The Botswana Football Association (BFA)’s cry for FIFA to help take local women’s football out of its figurative intensive care unit (ICU) has finally been heard.
The world football governing body delegation led by Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Bareman will be in the country to determine a strategy for the women football in the country.
The final determination of the strategy follows a visit by the FIFA delegation back on February 15th and the 16th February this year to undertake an assessment on the state of women football.
As a result of the visit, a SWOT analysis of women’s football was carried out to help guide the drawing of the planned turnaround strategy.
Among their findings then, the FIFA delegation decried that while female coaches had passion to do their jobs, they did not work together and only met during their games.
The delegation also lamented the lack of women football coaches committee and also determined that most women clubs’ coaches have not gone through proper training leading to a small number of trained coaches.
Another cause for concern for the fact finding FIFA delegation was the lack of a database for women football club coaches. It was also found out that while most clubs are dominated by male coaches with no mentoring programmes for women coaches, there were no guidelines in place to protect female coaches from gender- based violence.
As with women coaches, when it comes to female players, the delegation while they have a passion for the game and were highly motivated to excel, the weaknesses in their game overpowered their strengths.
It states that there are no rehabilitation centres or any form of help given to athletes for injuries incurred, it is difficult to re- join teams after pregnancy, there is favouritism during national team selections and club level.
The FIFA fact finding delegation also lamented the lack of youth leagues (age-based leagues), which they highlighted hindered the development of players, adding that player’s health are at danger as most clubs cannot afford to buy them proper equipment to use during training and official games.
It goes on further to say there is neither players committee nor former players committee, nor were there any programmes that empower captains or former players on leadership skills.
And just like coaches, the delegation further said there were no guidelines in place to protect women footballers from gender- based violence.
Armed with the crucial information emanating from the fact finding mission, the FIFA delegation will now be holding a workshop with the relevant stakeholders this month to draw a strategy for women football in Botswana.
As part of the process, FIFA has committed to providing continuous support to BFA in each step of the project.
The football world governing body will support the creation of the plan, provide expertise and support to the BFA as they undertake to implement a strategy for Botswana, including both strategic off field development support, as well as technical on-field expertise.
The FIFA offer Botswana financial support via the Forward Programme.
Speaking on behalf of the association, the public relations officer, Tumo Mpatane, noted that they are sure and positive the strategy will work and yield positive results.
Even though it might take some time he said he is optimistic that with the help of the FIFA the will be an improvement to women football in Botswana even the association will continuously give support to the ladies.
“I am very positive that this FIFA Women’s Football strategy will yield positive results, and as the BFA we will continuously support the involved parties and ensure women football improves,” said Mpatane.
It is believed the delegates will be in the country sometime next week to officially kick start the strategy.