Confederation of African Football (CAF) has approved a proposal that clubs with no registered women’s teams should not participate in its continental club tournaments with effect from the 2022/23 season.
CAF head of women’s football development Safia Abdel Dayem said the decision has been made as part of a drive to improve women’s football and advance its professionalism.
She was quoted by the nationalnews.com as having said: “We want to harness club licensing regulations to promote women’s football and professionalise it.
“This is another way to give that extra push for women’s football, getting it through men’s football. Women’s football is coming, whether they like it or not. It’s coming.”
The decision will likely affect local clubs’ participation in CAF tourneys as except for relegated Ntopwa FC, none of the TNM Super League clubs has a women’s team.
And some of the clubs that take part in CAF tournaments yesterday said the decision will jolt them into action.
Mighty Wanderers FC acting public relations manager Ernest Maganga said when they first got wind of CAF’s plans, they discussed it at management level.
He said: “It has given us food for thought and we’ll definitely seek the board’s guidance.”
The club’s acting chief executive officer (CEO) Chancy Gondwe said they will not just explore the possibility of forming a women’s team because of the conditions set by CAF, “but we also want to contribute towards the objectives”.
Nyasa Big Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga said they will wait for an official communication from Football Association of Malawi (FAM).
“We will wait to hear from FAM on how to go about it and then we’ll take it from there,” he said.
However, three months ago, the People’s Team CEO Suzgo Nyirenda hinted at forming a women’s team, saying it would be part of the club’s strategic plan.
On his part, Silver Strikers CEO Thoko Chimbali yesterday said: “We are interested in taking part in CAF tournaments every season and, as such, we will have to abide by the prerequisites set.”
FAM licensing and compliance manager Casper Jangale said while they are aware about the move, they will wait for official communication.
He said: “They informed us about such plans, but we are yet to get official communication.
“Nevertheless, once we get it, we will enforce it accordingly. We believe it will just be a continuation of the club licensing system whereby teams are required to have a youth team and the women’s team will be an addition.
“That said, we’ll be required to assist the clubs with some logistics such as equipment.”
On the time factor, Jangale said it should not be a problem as clubs can enter into partnership with existing women’s teams.
“For instance, Bullets or Wanderers can choose to go into partnership with Blantyre Zero and that can simplify things for them,” he said.
National Women’s Football Association chairperson Suzgo Ngwira and China-based Malawi National Women’s Football Team captain Tabitha Chawinga said CAF’s decision will improve women’s football.
Said Ngwira: “It’s a move in the right direction because it will greatly help boost women’s football not only in Malawi, but on the continent as a whole.
“Even without CAF’s conditions, this was something that big teams needed to explore.”
On her part, Chawinga, who sponsors local women’s football giants DD Sunshine and owns TC Eleven FC, also said the move will help take women’s football to another level.
She said: “Here in China every professional men’s team also has a women’s team and that has helped improve women’s football and I have no doubt that it will be the same there at home.
“It’s not easy to get sponsorship just for a women’s team, so such an arrangement will be a big boost and with time, women’s football will grow.”