Former Kanatla Ladies owner and coach, Mkuseli Godlwana says South Africa is not ready for a professional women’s football league. In 2017 SAFA announced that they would launch a professional women’s league next year consisting of 12 to 16 teams including PSL teams and the nine Sasol League provincial winners, BUT Godlwana says South Africa is not ready. Godlwana reckons the mother body hasn’t done enough research on the state of South African women’s football and what it needs to succeed. The main problem as identified by Godlwana is that most of the Sasol League teams have school going players who would find it difficult to balance school and a professional football career.
“The football custodians didn’t go out into the nation to find out what needs to be done for it [professional league] to be correctly placed. The football custodians missed it or don’t understand who their players are or the formation of the teams. It’s going to create a lot of tension among teams in 2018 for promotion that the league won’t be able to sustain itself,” he says.
The four time Limpopo Sasol League winning coach adds that most of the teams are owned by normal citizens who sometimes have to go into their own pockets to sustain their teams, which would make it nearly impossible for such owners to finance a professional club with players contracted on a full-time basis. Godlwana points to countless examples of players who quit football to find work saying if SAFA want a professional league then they need to entice those women back into football because they would be able to play full time where school girls would not.
“We have a lot of players who have left football and went to work at Jet, Edgards and Shoprite. Those are the people we need to start up with. We need them back so that we can match the salaries they are getting so we can have them fulltime. A professional league needs fulltime players,” he says.
After finishing seventh at the 2017 Sasol League National Championship, Godlwana decided to leave coaching and give away Kanatla’s status. He gave all the players their clearances. Godlwana’s assistant Rhulani Mathebula, who coached Brazilian Ladies to the 2011 Sasol League National Championship Finals, took over the status and some of the players in the new First Touch Academy.