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Women's Football In The Frame

Thomalina Adams in action for Namibia against Botswana / NAMPA
Namibian Women's Football chairperson Monica Shapua is confident the future of the women's game will be brighter after Saturday's NFA extraordinary congress. With most of the attention focused on their male counterparts, Shapua is keen to see women's football transform from an afterthought to a significant part of the conversation.

This weekend they will compete for the limelight with the Namibia Premier League, which could be expelled as a member of the Namibia Football Association. Shapua says preliminary talks with the NFA executive point to a progressive outlook on developing the women's game, which has failed to kick on since Namibia successfully hosted the African Women's Championships in 2015.

She says all that remains to get the wheel in motion is the rubber stamping of the NFA Women's Desk projects tomorrow. “The way forward for women's football will be clarified at the congress after which the road map will be shared,” Shapua says. Apart from the crippling Covid-19 pandemic, outstanding payments are also hampering plans, she says.

Finances have been their Achilles heel over the years, with the men's game gobbling up the largest portion of investments, leaving the women to feed off crumbs. That needs to change, says Shapua, who was elected to the top post last September and promised sweeping changes that would enhance the way women's football is viewed in the country. “The issue of finances will always remain a challenge, hence our ongoing discussions with the NFA executive, who are really listening to us. We definitely have their full support. We are looking forward to football to resume,” Shapua says.

Earlier this month, the NFA said women's football would get at least US$500 000 (about N$8,6 million) of the U$1,5 million (N$25,8 million) from Fifa's US$1,5 billion relief plan in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. “We will announce the league kick-off in the coming weeks as well as all other procedures regarding Covid-19. For now, a lot of meetings behind closed doors are being held,” she says.

“We are working towards the independence of the Women Super League [from the NFA] for which constitutional changes are needed,” she says. “The women's football strategic plan will focus on regional development to boost the national teams and increased participation of women in football. This includes training coaches, administrators and referees in all regions.”

A comprehensive road map in line with Fifa's ambitious plans for women's football competitions will be ironed out once the NFA appoints a technical director. Namibia will do well to get the ball rolling as soon as possible with the inaugural CAF African Women's Champions League on the horizon.

“We have all read what the Fifa president [Gianni Infantini] said with regards to women's football. We are definitely excited about such developments. It means we need to fully develop women's football here for us to be able to compete,” Shapua says.
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