There are few opportunities for girls younger than 10 to participate in competitive soccer.
Those who are interested in the game have to play with and against boys.
This hampers the grassroots development of the women’s game in a country where Banyana Banyana already participated in their first FIFA World Cup and have recently won the Women’s African Cup of Nations (WAFCON).
To address the gap, the University of the Western Cape (UWC) launched She-Bobo at UWC – a soccer league established exclusively for girls under-8 and under-10.
Dr Danny Jordaan, South African Football Association president and UWC alumnus, says the league’s launch could not have come at a better time.
“It is a project that we are certainly delighted about and will support.
It’s in the context of us making a bid for the Women’s World Cup in 2027.
We are going to launch our intention to bid and then a full bidding process will be outlined by FIFA … around the time that we will see the launch of She-Bobo.
It is indeed a wonderful initiative,” he said.
“UWC has made its contribution.
More than 15 of our national team players come from UWC – both in terms of sport and education.
Many of them are graduates and it’s no wonder that 80 percent of the Banyana team are graduates.
It is something we encourage.
We hope these girls that start at an early age will eventually enrol at the University to continue their studies.
This is one of the most important things: sport and education, and not a choice between a sporting career and having an education.” Professor Tyrone Pretorius, UWC Rector and Vice-Chancellor and himself a notable soccer alumnus, said: “It is our hope that She-Bobo becomes the blueprint for how universities around the country can engage communities through sport and become the drivers for social change as the anchor institutions in our society.
“As we celebrate our heroes as the WAFCON champions, we welcome the new cohort of future stars gracing our sporting fields in the She-Bobo at UWC league.
We will be watching with great interest the progress of these little superstars, from goals to graduation gowns.” She-Bobo at UWC will include soccer clubs in neighbouring communities and across the metropole to play in a league of their own in 2023.
On 22 October 2022, we will present a showcase football festival - as a taste of what is to come - where girl footballers from 10 clubs will participate in a day of soccer fun at the UWC Stadium.
The league is the brainchild of UWC Media and Marketing manager, Gasant Abarder – off the back of the University already being a hub for women’s football.