ZIMBABWE Football Association (Zifa) Women’s football boss Barbara “Mama Red Rose” Chikosi says the country must take full advantage of the Confederation’s of African Football’s (Caf) Women’s Football Strategy 2020-2023 to develop the local game.
With women’s football having been overlooked over the years, Caf is embarking on a mission that seeks to strengthen the African game’s identity by creating sustainable and empowering career pathways.
To achieve this, the continental football mother body hopes to invest and work with member associations in providing African women with playing opportunities, career development and representation — something Chikosi feels should motivate them as local leaders to elevate the women’s game.
“This is great news for women’s football. I think as a country we must take full advantage of this initiative by Caf to make sure we develop the sport locally while empowering women at the same time,” Chikosi told the Daily News.
“As women’s football we will make sure that we put everything in place to make sure our local game is developed. There are a lot of things that we need to make sure are put in place for instance smoothly run leagues at all levels — national, regional — going down.
“The fact that we will be playing in such competitions like the Champions League means if we are to compete, we will surely need to bring professionalism to the game. We need to have proper structures in women’s football from the grassroots.”
Caf has made it clear they are now taking women’s football to the next level by launching this new initiative.
“Caf recognises that competitions are the greatest driver of football development. In the next four years Caf will work diligently with the zonal unions to increase the number of women’s competitions for clubs and national teams at youth and senior levels,” reads the document.
“By enhancing the qualifying pathway for Caf women’s competitions, African teams will feature more frequently in the knockout stages of the Fifa World Cups. At domestic level Caf will work with its MAs to increase the number of national leagues at youth and senior level.
“Organise centralised zonal tournaments to enhance the qualifying pathways to youth and senior Caf competitions. Regulate the use of the Caf competition management system for all zonal qualifiers.
“Organise Caf youth championships to increase the motivation of players, coaches and member associations.
“Review the competitions regulations to incentivise participation. Identify and create a pool of influential women from MAs to support hosting and competition opportunities.
“Increase member associations with national leagues at senior and youth level. Introduce new continental club competitions i.e women’s champions league to strengthen leagues and clubs.
“Facilitate knowledge exchange between Caf and Zonal Unions on all aspects of competition delivery.”
Caf also seeks to introduce professionalism and leadership by: “Organising capacity building courses for women in football across Africa to enhance administration and leadership skills.
“Encourage and support all member associations to have dedicated personnel on women’s football. Review the regulatory framework to identify opportunities to increase the number of women in decision making bodies.
“Harness the Caf Club Licensing regulations to increase participation in women’s football and drive professionalism of the women’s game.”
At the moment. there is no women’s football taking place on the continent following the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) since March this year.
Recently, Fifa and Caf both availed funds for all members associations to ensure among other things that women’s football remains afloat.