The 2016/2017 women football league will start over the weekend, with certain FIFA-inspired changes to the structures. The league has been postponed twice before; first to pave way for the country’s golden jubilee celebrations and then, over the referees’ payment impasse.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) public relations officer, Tumo Mpatane said the association had to make major changes to the league in order to meet FIFA requirements.
“The start of the league was delayed for some time because we had to change how it has been run. We had the Super League but FIFA after their inspection, advised us that the league did not meet requirements to be called a Super League hence why we decided that it will be played at regional structures,” he said.
He further said in order to qualify for FIFA grants they had to abide by the world soccer mother body’s recommendations.
“As of now, the Super league is cancelled. We will have teams battling it out at the regions, then the best will advance to the inter regional playoffs while the champion will be determined at the national championship play-off. However, this year we would not have the national play-off as we started the league a bit late.
“We want to make the league to be governable and to have proper running hence why we had
We believe as the BFA we cannot swallow before we chew hence why we decided to start with regional football. From there, we would have second and third tiers while the regional league will form the development structure,” Mpatane explained.
He further said the new format would be beneficial to the national teams as the coaches would move around regions to select the creme de la creme of women football in the country unlike the national team being selected from players in the Gaborone region only as it has been the norm.
Mpatane also assured that the league games would be officiated by qualified referees who will be fully paid on time. The league is expected to end in May while the new women youth development league is expected to kick start on the first weekend of December.
“We believe that the girl child is equal to the boy child hence why women football would also have a development league,” he said.