By Sikhumbuzo Moyo in Bulawayo
ZIFA have received close to R1 million as reward for two senior national teams’ performances in the COSAFA tournaments last year. The tournaments were held in South Africa and Zimbabwe. After coming tops in the men’s version in South Africa last year, where they beat Zambia 3-1 in the final, the Warriors, under the legendary Sunday Chidzambwa got R500 000 while their female counterparts, the Mighty Warriors received R250 000 for finishing runners-up to South Africa’s Banyana Banyana, who beat Sithethelelwe ‘Kwinji 15’ Sibanda’s girls 2-1 at Barbourfields.
Those successes brought in up to R750 000 the prize money the Warriors and Mighty Warriors contributed to the ZIFA coffers.
Banyana Banyana took the winners prize of R500 000 for winning the women’s tournament while Zambia collected R150 000 for their third place and Kenya R100 000.
Pan-African broadcast network Kwesé TV, yesterday handed over prize money totalling R1 million to the 2017 Cosafa Women’s Championships, elevating the status of the event to that of the senior men’s competition.
The money was handed over to the COSAFA leadership in South Africa. This is the same amount that was paid for the 2017 men’s senior championship in South Africa, putting the two events at par in terms of prize money.
“We take great pride in being able to elevate the prize money for the COSAFA Women’s Championship to the same level with the senior men’s competition to make a statement about how seriously we take women’s football in the region,” COSAFA president Philip Chiyangwa told the COSAFA official website.
“Our nations have made great strides in recent years, including both South Africa and Zimbabwe, representing the African continent at the Olympic Games in 2016, and we are sure that this will assist in the further development of the women’s game.
“We extend our heartfelt thanks to Kwesé TV for their continued support of women’s football in our region as well as our other COSAFA properties, together we seek to take the game to new audiences and grow our fan base across the region,” Chiyangwa said.
Speaking at the same event Joseph Hundah, president and chief executive officer of Econet Media, said they were delighted to contribute to the growth of women’s football in the region.
“We at Kwesé have a keen commitment towards showcasing and promoting quality women’s sports from all over the continent across our multiple platforms. We are excited to be part of this amazing tournament and continue to look forward to further collaborations with COSAFA,” said Hundah.
It is a massive stamp of approval from the exclusive broadcaster for the women’s game in the region, which has grown immensely in recent years, with more participation at all age-group levels through most Southern African countries.
The 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championships is due to be played from the end of August to early September this year and there is also a Women’s Under-20 tournament that is scheduled for December.