Women's league grows in Francistown

Tonota Diamond Girls are one of the teams campaigning in the Francistown Womens League
Tonota Diamond Girls are one of the teams campaigning in the Francistown Womens League

FRANCISTOWN: Women's football is growing at an impressive rate in Francistown, with five new teams queueing up to join the league, an official in the region has said.

The Francistown Regional Football Association women’s league has 10 teams after starting with only one team, Reteng Banyana in 2012.

“Five more teams have shown interest to join the league for the upcoming season (2021-2022). The new teams are from Tonota, Tutume, Francistown and Shashe. The increase in participation is a sign that the league is growing. We believe we are doing something right, which is why new teams are now joining the league,” the league's chairperson, Motlalepula Bakani said. Bakani added they are working on a strategy that will enable them to effectively run the 15-team league.

“I know that the increase in teams will be very challenging, especially looking at the fact that we are under-resourced, but we are confident that we will manage to effectively run the league.” Bakani expressed optimism that Jacaranda Primary School, a Francistown-based private school will renew the sponsorship for the women’s league.

The P40,000 sponsorship, which was for one season ended in the 2019-2020 campaign. At the launch of the sponsorship, the company expressed a desire to continue supporting women’s football depending on circumstances. COVID-19 has since been an issue as most companies struggle during the global pandemic.

Bakani added that she hopes that members of the business community in the city will also come forward and sponsor the league because it is well run, and its popularity is growing at an impressive rate. Bakani said they want to continue attracting teams until they reach a point where they will have the top and lower divisions. “Having the top and lower divisions will make the league very competitive. Top teams will be eager to maintain their status in the league while those in the lower league will be hungry for promotion. This will ultimately make women's football in the Francistown region very competitive. We are in the right direction, it is all about perseverance,” she emphasised.

Despite having made inroads since it was established in 2012, the league has experienced an array of challenges such as shortage of suitable grounds and lack of very competent match officials. The teams are generally under-resourced and have often bemoaned that it is a huge challenge for them to honour fixtures.

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