Cape Town City FC Marketing Brand Manager, Natalie Barlow, has made history by becoming the first woman in Africa to graduate from the prestigious UEFA Certificate in Football Management course.
“I am honoured to be the first South African and female in Africa to have done this programme.” – Natalie Barlow, the first woman in Africa to graduate from the UEFA Certificate in Football Management course
“Football is changing both on and off the pitch and I believe that it is important for the voices of women in football to be heard,” said Barlow.
Last August, gsport reported on Barlow breaking new ground when she became the first South African and African woman to be accepted to the nine-month program of 28 participants from 20 nations.
This week, her club took to social media to congratulate her on this historic achievement.
City Marketing Brand Manager Natalie Barlow made history by becoming the first female in Africa to graduate from the highly prestigious UEFA Certificate in Football Management 👩🎓
— Cape Town City FC (@CapeTownCityFC) September 29, 2020
The UEFA CFM compromised six online modules as well as three face-to-face seminars. Each module and face-to-face seminar addresses a key area of football management which are necessary for people working within the football industry.
The course covered all key areas of Football Management and will engage in a practical activity based on sport and commercial operations of a UEFA Champions League match.
The program saw participants exchange knowledge and best practices, which Barlow is hoping to share with the South African football community in the South African Football landscape.
gsport caught up with Barlow following her announcement, to gain insights into her experience:
How does it feel to be the first women from Africa to graduate from UEFA CFM programme?
I am honoured to be the first South African and female in Africa to have done this programme. Football is changing both on and off the pitch and I believe that it is important for the voices of women in football to be heard.
The development for female leaders within football is hugely important for the future of the game, and the UEFA Certificate in Football Management has provided me as a female administrator with the skills and techniques to undertake a senior position more efficiently, and with greater confidence.
How are you planning to use the knowledge gained there to be a better SA football?
This programme helped give me a better understanding of the challenges football clubs and associations face at both a strategic and operational level of world football. It made me understand the importance of using high-level management tools and how it can benefit my work and the organisation.
I am also able now to critically evaluate my performance and improve the quality of my daily work, as well as share key knowledge with my colleagues and all other stakeholders as the programmes covered a broad spectrum of the management of a football clubs and national associations.
What is your advice to women in football who want to follow in your footsteps?
I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge with as many as possible and adding value to the CTC FC brand and the South African Football industry. I hope that I can inspire many young females out there to step up and break boundaries in the south African football industry. I would like to encourage all women pursuing a career in football to step out of their comfort zones, and break the boxes we’ve been put in for so long.
What is the biggest lesson I picked up on the course?
The biggest lesson I learnt is the importance of strategic planning and communication – But also involving all the relevant stakeholders in that planning. Before decisions are made, it’s important to get input from all stakeholders in order to ensure everyone’s best interests are catered to.
The way they plan in advance and anticipate problems that could occur during our lessons is another key element I want to keep with me and use it at CTC FC.
Another big lesson is how football evolves and the importance of adapting to the changes. We have to ensure that we remain relevant and continuously move with the times, instead of sticking to what we are familiar with simply because it’s been that way for so many years.
Photo 1 Caption: Cape Town City FC Marketing Brand Manager, Natalie Barlow, makes UEFA history after becoming the first woman in Africa to graduate from the prestigious UEFA Certificate in Football Management course. Photo: Supplied
Photo 2 Caption: The course covered all key areas of Football Management, and saw participants exchange knowledge and best practices. Photo: Supplied