Harare City ladies first team head coach, Rosemary Mugadza, says the challenges bedevilling women’s football in Zimbabwe lie in the lack of adequate sponsorship from the corporate world and coverage from the media.
The former Mighty Warriors (Zimabwe national senior women’s soccer team) gaffer said good corporate governance by people in charge of women’s football in Zimbabwe was key to establishing sponsorship of local clubs for the otherwise minority sport.
Mugadza said women’s club football was generally legging in Southern Africa as compared to other parts of the continent such as West Africa.
“I think as women’s football in Zimbabwe there is no sponsorship for some teams and lack of publicity. I had the opportunity to go to [women’s] AFCON last year when I was doing my elite CAF Instructor’s course in Cameroon when Cameroon was hosting the AWC (African Women’s Championship) for women, the publicity in all the cities was excellent and considering the attendance of people who came to watch the girls play, it was something good [and something] which we in Zimbabwe are lacking, especially in Southern Africa. But when we go to the West, their women are given equal opportunities as the men.
“So here we need good corporate governance [by] whoever is in charge of women’s football to attract sponsorship for our girls,” Mugadza told Soccer24.
Harare City ladies team is participating in the Zimbabwe Women’s Super League for the first time this year. The Women’s Super League was launched in 2012 and the League, however, has had no sponsor since 2014.
Mugadza reiterated that the coverage of women’s club football and Super League in Zimbabwe was dire as opposed to the women’s senior national soccer team, the Mighty Warriors.
“I think we need people like you guys (journalists) to come and support and to tell the whole Zimbabwe that the women’s league is alive and we need journalists to cover our matches, be it in the paper or broadcast.
“They (journalists) should come and cover us and make sure people know that women’s football is still alive in Zimbabwe than for people to concentrate only when Mighty Warriors play. We need people to come and cover them,” she said.
Women’s club football in Zimbabwe has had challenges generally ranging from stigmatisation to player recruitment.
Mugadza, however, said that the recruitment of players at club level for Harare City has not been an issue given the player recruitment strategies put in place by the Harare City which include football development in City of Harare council schools at grassroots level and the U16 women’s team also run by Harare City.
Harare City women’s team conducted trials for over 100 players during the transfer window ahead of their 2017 premier league debut, an indication that the sport is gradually getting recognition.
“As Harare City we never had problems with recruitment of the team because we had our trials. The first day we had about 25 players, the second day we had about 35 players and the third day we had about 40 players. Right now we are still having new players coming in who want to join Harare City. It hasn’t been a problem to us.
“As women we are concentrating mainly on development. We have been working with schools. As you know that the Harare City council has 32 primary schools, so we’ll be working with those players from the council schools as well as the U16 team for the council. That’s basically for women this year,” she said.
“As you know that it’s a new club, we are just starting and ¾ of the players have not been playing football for the last three years and a half and some have been active but we have got a mixture of experience and inexperience.
“Our aim is to do well this season and if things go well we need to at least be playing in the premier league if there is a premier league for women’s football because we need to expand as a club. We need to go regional and in Africa.
“As you know CAF introduced club championships for women and this is our aim as a club to play at that level,” she said.