The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
BLACK Rhinos Queens represent Zimbabwe in the inaugural Council of Southern Africa Football Associations Women’s Champions League have been unveiled with the tournament dates as well as host close to being finalised.
Prisons XI (Botswana), Manzini Wanderers LFC (Eswatini), Lesotho Defense Force (Lesotho), Costa Do Sol (Mozambique), Tura Magic FC (Namibia), Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies FC (South Africa) and Green Buffaloes Women FC (Zambia) are the other teams.
The competition will serve as a qualifier for the first ever Caf Women’s Champions League that is scheduled to take place in late 2021 and the Cosafa event, which is another major step forward for women’s football in the Southern African region, will see the eight sides split into two groups of four, playing a minimum of three games.
Qualification for the semifinals is guaranteed for the top two teams in each pool, with an exciting line-up of champions from across the region, it is a certainly a thrilling new addition to the Cosafa calendar.
“We are incredibly excited to stage our first Cosafa Women’s Champions League, which will be a chance for the leading clubs in the region to not only lift a prestigious trophy, but also take their place at the continental finals,” Cosafa General Secretary Sue Destombes said.
Destombes believes that the new competition improves Cosafa’s commitment to the advancement of the women’s game.
“Adding to our senior women’s championship and the junior events in the Under-17 and Under-20 age groups, this new competition enhances our commitment to women’s football and advancing the sport in our region. We only have to look at our national teams to see the enormous talent in the Southern Africa and I am quite sure that our club sides can make a big impact at the CAF Women’s Champions League in the future,’’ she said.
The venue and dates for the 2021 Cosafa Women’s Champions League are set to be finalised soon once discussions have been completed with all stakeholders, but it will be played in either June or August.
Both Fifa and new Caf resident Patrice Motsepe have targeted growing women’s football in the coming years and the COSAFA competition is a big step forward for Southern Africa in this regard.
“We want women’s football, in the period of my presidency, to be significantly growing, progressing and prospering. Someone was saying to me, we could actually have an African nation winning the Fifa Women’s World Cup before we have a male team doing so,’’ Motsepe said last month.