By Mosibodi Whithead
Not for lack of trying, South Africa has struggled to make an impact on global women’s junior tournaments over the years. Basetsana are the only side to have tasted international competition in the form of the 2010 Fifa Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago. Unfortunately, they also didn’t leave a mark in the competition. The team led by Solly Luvhengo and Joseph Mkhonza, was knocked out in the first round and scored only one goal throughout the tournament.
The biggest problem is the lack of competition for the junior players locally. There isn’t a structured league, even at school level, for players between 13 and 17 years old. Unlike in other parts of the world, in Africa, junior women’s national teams are generally only active ahead of continental and global competitions. Having one high performance centre in the country to service nine provinces means there are a lot of players not getting the chance to have their skills enhanced.
This weekend Banyana Banyana striker, Andisiwe Mgcoyi hosted her inaugural tournament for under-15 and under-17 girls in a bid to unearth and inspire young girls to keep working on their skills. Mgcoyi chose this age group because she feels, it is precisely at this age, that a lot of young girls give up on the sport because they see no future.