June 18, 2024

Minister of Sports calls for women’s sports to be taken seriously

CAPE TOWN – Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Zizi Kodwa believes the South African Football Association (SAFA) debacle with Banyana Banyana could’ve been easily avoided before time.

Kodwa says SAFA should’ve moved swiftly months ago to prioritise the Banyana Banyana dispute over gender pay gaps in South Africa.

On Thursday, Kodwa visited the newly promoted side Cape Town Spurs following their return to the top flight having been relegated in 2018.

He said the country has been exposed but believes that it is time for women’s sports to be taken seriously.

“I think as we are building up our national pride – our national team, we need to urge federations’ leaderships – if the leadership could’ve just anticipated this before time, what happened to Banyana Banyana it shouldn’t have got to that point,” said Kodwa.

“I’m sure all federations have learnt a lesson, – I watched the news this morning, several countries are still negotiating with their women’s teams on salaries before the New Zealand World Cup, it shouldn’t be like that.

“Because with FIFA women’s football, we don’t get these kinds of stories, and it’s strange that just before the world cup you get these stories everywhere. It’s unfortunate throughout the world that you still get this discrimination against women in sports.

“With us Banyana Banyana it has exposed how lacking the agility of our leadership is. We should have anticipated this weeks and months before the world cup – we should have finalised the players’ salaries and contracts so that when the time comes all is under control.

“It was an unfortunate situation and of course, it did take their mind out of focus a bit and when I met their coach [Desiree Ellis] she was devastated because she was looking forward to the world cup.”

It was all smiles for the young future stars as the minister was walking to Ikamva.

Zit was then given a tour of Spurs’ training facilities and later addressed the club’s academy players.

“I was thrilled and excited to see what they have here at Ikamva and I was amazed by everything here, from the facility itself to staff and players and that is something we need to applaud about this club,” he said.

“When you come here to see the academy you see that there’s more that is being done, there’s off-the-field stuff as well that they do amazingly. I know their focus is to win but for me is what they do to these young players.

“Growing up in the Cape Flats you see the team is dealing with kids who are coming from broken families and I was saying to the coaching staff they might not be aware of the contribution they are making but it does wonders to these kids’ growth and future.”

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