By Busisiwe Mokwena
The lack of proper facilities has left Cape Town Roses coach with no option but to give up on winning the league, even before the season starts. Unlike the other provinces where women’s football started in March, the Western Cape Sasol League will only start their season in June due to the continuous drought threat in the Western Cape. The lack of rain in the Western Cape has turned most of the football pitches into unplayable sand pits. Although Roses are the provincial defending champions they don’t have their own training facilities. Roses have presented the province in seven of the eight Sasol League National Championships.
Coach Xolile Madikane reveals that they have been forced to train on a derelict Gugulethu primary school pitch and as a result of this poor preparation Madikane says their only target this season is to avoid relegation. “Our target is to stay in the league. If we are realistic, with the material we have, we just want to stay in the league. We don’t have a team. We didn’t enter the cup because our players were not training,” said Madikane.
In effort to try and keep the Sasol League teams active while they wait for the start of the 2018 season, Holy Cross High School hosted a tournament. Known as The Drought Cup, this competition ran over five weeks and involved 16 teams including Sasol and regional leagues. The University of the Western Cape, which boasts of players like Jermaine Seoposenwe and Leandra Smeda, won the tournament with their reserve taking the second position. Roses didn’t participate.
Safa Western Cape secretary, Simphiwe Clans says although they were not part of the organising committee they advocate for the competition to be an annual one.
“We told the organisers that it should be a yearly thing. The Drought Cup is something that I will promote. It was nice to see ladies playing football,” he says.
However the main issue is still the lack of facilities in the area. While there are AstroTurf pitches in the area, these have only been made available to men’s amateur team’s with teams such as Roses left to fend for themselves. Clans says the lack of proper facilities will also impede on how the league matches will go. He says, some of the fixtures will have to be adjusted and set for the second round of the season.
“Out of the 16 teams, about two or three stated that they don’t have control of facilities. The agreement we have reached is that we have to work with together to try and make the situation work. The teams that have facilities need to accommodate those that don’t have,” he explains.