The Fifa Women’s football tournament that was recently held in Australia and New Zealand has once and for all settled the long running debate about the place of women’s sports in the global theatre.
The Women’s world football tournament was a success in every conceivable way.
By any measure the tournament was record breaking.
The quality of football was world class.
The television audience ratings blew the ceiling and for the first time women football literally emerged out of the shadows of male counterpart.
The number of fans that came from all over the world to follow their teams and passions was out of this world.
The only thing that has remained to be achieved is the parity in earnings between women players and their male counterparts.
That said, the tournament has done a great job to inspire a whole generation of young women and the girl children.
They now have a pathway to dream to achieve their goals.
The sheer number of people that were glued to their television set over the four weeks to watch the football says a lot.
Given a chance, women’s football has a real chance to match their male counterparts, who are still billions of dollars ahead when it comes to remuneration, tv rights and commercial sponsorships.
A lot still needs to be done.
Countries like Botswana have been left miles behind in women football.
The game remains rudimentary in Botswana.
In Botswana, it is yet to be professionalized.
By and large, the women football is still played in more urbanized areas.
Rural areas are yet to catch up. They are still far behind, to put it more bluntly.
The sport carries with it a large responsibility to play a significant role in fighting gender parity in Botswana.
The country is in the middle of a Gender Based Violence scourge.
Women’s football has its job clearly cut out. And football authorities should show that they have what it takes.
Social perceptions against women and girl children remain severely entrenched.
Thankfully, the football authorities in Botswana seem to be awake to what is at stake.
Just recently Botswana Football Association announced that they were suspending the Chairman of a women’s football club after allegations of sexual misconduct emerged.
We applaud BFA for being decisive and prompt.
But they need to put systems in place over and above the FIFA approved standards.
It is important for women and girl children to feel safe at all levels of their involvement in football.
There is a lot of abuse among football spectators in Botswana.
Such abuse is wrongfuly treated as just a part of the game.
It is not.
In fact it scares away women followers of football.
As we speak, a head of Spanish football, the ultimate winners of the FIFA women’s football world cup tournament is still in his position after he was seen making an unsolicited kiss on one of the players.
Women’s football should serve as a platform to fight violence against women.
It should be a vehicle to fight gender discrimination.
Any changes in favour of women should start at BFA.
BFA leadership should lead the way in embracing and exemplifying gender diversity.
This should happen in parallel with efforts to professionalise the sport.
Young women involved in football should be rewarded.
And BFA should put in place measures to achieve those.
Training facilities remains a big issue for Botswana.
And we are talking about a country that has raised its hand to be allowed an opportunity to host CAF tournament in 2027.
A lot still needs to be done to bring sports facilities in Botswana to minimum required standards.
To achieve that more investments need to be pumped into women football especially at grassroot.
That way, the investments will also cover the rural areas who are still lagging behind.