The South African Football Association (SAFA), on Wednesday (7 August 2013), conducted the draw for the SAFA Regional Women’s League U19 Championship that will take place in Kroonstad, Free State from Friday, 9 – 13 August, 2013.
SAFA’s Fezile Dabi district will play host to this five-day event that will kick-off on Women’s Day on 9 August and conclude on 13 August at the Loubser Park Stadium in Kroonstad.
Having started in 2009 as the Absa Women’s Regional League, the SAFA Regional Women’s League has occupied a critical space in women’s football development, whereby it acted as a feeder to the Sasol League and ultimately the Senior National Team, Banyana Banyana.
Through the Regional Women’s League, many players are also able to come through the ranks and be selected for various women’s national teams.
Some of the big names that have used the platform to claim a stake within the national team space are Shiwe Nogwanya, Refiloe Jane and Robyn Moodaly who has now gone on to ply her trade in the US Women’s League.
Being the main feeder of national teams, the championship is the main reason why South Africa’s U17 Women’s National team (Bantwana) managed to make history by being the first women’s national team to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup that took place in Trinidad and Tobago in 2010.
This success was followed by Banyana Banyana qualification for the London Olympics in 2012. “This tournament has been the bedrock of our women’s success on the international scene, and of late has been the main development programme for women football,” said SAFA Head of Competitions, Balebetse Monnakgotla.
The City of Tshwane was host to the inaugural tournament that was launched in 2009 while the other editions took place in Mafikeng (2010), Richards Bay (2011) and Kimberley (2012).This tournament, to be held in Kroonstad, Free State falls on an important date in the South African calendar and coincides with the celebrations of Women’s Month.
The competing provinces have been placed in three Groups and will play in the round-robin group matches to determine the log leaders and the best runner up that will make it to the semi-finals on Monday, 12 August 2013.
This tournament will be graced by high ranking SAFA technical officials who will be scouting for talent for the various women’s national teams, including Fran Hilton-Smith (SAFA Head of Women’s Football), Joseph Mkhonza (Banyana Banyana head coach), Sheryl Botes (Basetsana head coach) and Anna Monate (Bantwana assistant coach).
The 2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy Trust are this year’s main funders for the championships and have pumped in R5.7m which will be used for administration and teams’ prizes.
“The SAFA Regional Women’s League U19 Championship is crucial for the development of players who will be identified for the U20 women’s national team and has in the past played a major role in the development of women’s football at regional level and has worked as feeder for our women’s national teams,” said SAFA Head of Women’s football, Fran Hilton-Smith.
“I believe that the Regional Women’s League is the life of the development of women’s football and comes at a significant time on our calendar when we are celebrating Women’s Month,” concluded Hilton-Smith. “This championship will be the perfect opportunity for us to select players that will prepare for the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup qualifiers next year.”
The SAFA Regional Women’s League U19 Championship from Friday, 9 – 13 August 2013: Group A: A1 Western Cape A2 Free State A3 KwaZulu Natal Group B: B1 Mpumalanga B2 Eastern Cape B3 Northern Cape Group C: C1 North West C2 Gauteng C3 Limpopo RWL U19 Championship 2013 Fixtures on Day 1, Friday 9 August 2013, at Loubscher Park in Kroonstad, Free State (Match / Time / Host / Visitor): 1. 12:00: North West vs Gauteng 2. 13:45: Mpumalanga vs Eastern Cape *** Official Opening Ceremony *** 3. 16:00: Western Cape vs Free State Day 2 – Saturday 10 August 2013: 4. 12:00: Eastern Cape vs Northern Cape 5. 13:45: Free State vs KwaZulu Natal 6. 15:30: Gauteng vs Limpopo Day 3 – Sunday 11 August 2013: 7. 12:00 KwaZulu Natal vs Western Cape 8. 13:45 Limpopo vs North West 9. 15:30 Northern Cape vs Mpumalanga Semi-Finals, Day 4 – Monday 12 August 2013: 10. 12:00: Winner Group B vs Winner Group C 11. 13:45: Winner Group A vs Best Runner-Up Finals, Day 5 – Tuesday 13 August 2013: 12. 10:00 Loser Match 10 vs Loser Match 11 (3rd/4th Place Play-offs) 13. 11:45: Winner Match 10 vs Winner Match 11 (Final)
(With editing by gsport)