Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
CALLS have been made for the media to rally behind the recently revived Zimbabwe Women’s Soccer League.
Zifa vice-president Omega Sibanda said revival of the women’s league would go a long way in improving the standard of the game in the country and position the country as one of the strongholds of women’s football in the region and continent.
He was speaking during a league match pitting Bulawayo sides Inline Academy and Street Set at Barbourfields outside grounds on Sunday.
Women’s league action returned after a four-year absence and indications are that it will be more competitive and better organised. It returns when Zimbabwe is preparing to host the Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) Women’s Championships that will be held in Bulawayo between August and September.
“Women’s football can only grow with the support of the media and we call on the Fourth Estate to rally behind the girl child in this regard. It can only grow bigger and better with the support of the media,” said Sibanda.
Zifa has already ensured that women’s football is given support financially and materially by donating playing kits and soccer balls as well as paying for transport and referees’ fees.
“As Zifa we are excited with the development and believe the league will be better run and organised this time around. We have already played our part by giving them playing kits while also taking care of referees and transport expenses which we believe have been the biggest barrier to women’s football development in the country,” said Sibanda.
The teams are yet to receive their playing kits although the equipment has been handed over to the Zimbabwe Women’s Football leadership.
“We are told they (ZWF) first want to see which teams are committed and ready, but I think they will get their kits soon,” said Sibanda.
Unlike in the past when retired referees were used to officiate in women’s football matches, active officials will now take charge of the games with a full set of referees being assigned for each match, as their fees will be taken care of by the association.
Each away team, said Sibanda, will be given $180 to cover transport expenses.
Bulawayo will be represented by Inline Academy, Burrow Jets, New Orleans, Street Sets and Hearts of Oak in the 16-team national league.