By Peter Alegi | September 22nd, 2010 2 Comments
The draw for the 2010 African Women’s Championship was held yesterday at the Birchwood Hotel in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg. The official schedule released by CAF and SAFA reveals that matches will take place at Daveyton’s Sinaba Stadium and Tembisa’s Makhulong Stadium from 31 October to 14 November 2010. However, it remains unclear where each match is taking place and what the kickoff times are.
South African media covered the draw in perfunctory fashion. Local officials repeated platitudes heard daily during the 2010 World Cup: the tournament will market Brand South Africa, foster unity and pride, and so on. ‘This is yet another opportunity to put South Africa and Africa on the global map,’ said Ekhuruleni councillor Ndosi Shongwe in a typical remark. ‘We will be calling all our people to rally behind Banyana Banyana in the same way we did for Bafana Bafana during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Bafana united us as a nation, now let’s allow the Women’s National Team to take over the baton. To us this is more than just winning the trophy; it is about uniting the country towards social cohesion,’ Shongwe added.
The bigger and more important question, however, is: what will be the impact of this tournament on the development and growth of South African (and African) women’s football at junior, amateur, and elite levels?
This is a crucial question given that the number of female players — mostly black — continues to grow alongside their ongoing marginalization and exclusion in a male-dominated football world. (Suggested reading: Prishani Naidoo and Zanele Muhoi, ‘Women’s bodies and the world of football in South Africa,’ in Ashwin Desai’s The Race to Transform: Sport in Post-Apartheid South Africa (free download here)