To the BFA and BW - "Women Can"
The potential for women in football is tremendous... We as women sports lovers and sports fanatics believe that it is time for women's participation in football.
Our Presidential candidate Mr. Ookeditse Malesu, of whose team I am a member, believes that women have long passed the stage of potential. I’m also convinced that it is time now to make sure that women are recognized and given equal opportunities similar to those of their male counterparts so that they too can reach their true potential and be able to play in an equal and fair playing field. I, Joy "Sisterboss" Setshedi aka Mama Joy, believe that we must put women in and stir the profession! We need to put women football on top of the agenda in Botswana,Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, Africa and on the global stage.Our continent has had amazing and outstanding women coaches in the likes of Takobana, Jacqueline Marumo and Nkutlwisa to mention but a few. I want to salute these great women for the pioneers and pathfinders they are, as they continue to be our inspiration. It is also important to deconstruct the societal, cultural, economic and physical stereotypes about the role that women can play in football.
The ground is already fertile for the development of women's football. Schools already have girl's leagues from under 13 to under 17, which are running and my belief is that if anyone can adopt any school he or she can run a successful team. In order for women football to reach it's peak and be competitive, capacity building is needed starting with developmental grassroots programs. Legislators and policy makers must create an enabling environment for this dream to be realized. One of the major challenges facing women’s football is a lack of funding. It is therefore important to engage both Government and the Private sector to spearhead an enabling environment be it in policy implementation, marketing and sponsorships that are aimed at promoting women's football. Partnerships with different stakeholders will have long lasting effects. It is through these partnerships that women's football in Botswana will become national pride and we can proudly say "My Botswana, My Pride,Your Destination". Our women are a treasure to behold and a living brand for both Africa and the World.
Like the old and most relevant saying “Mosadi thari ya sechaba”. My dream and vision is to see women footballers in our country compete with women footballers around the world. This is why it is important to start at grassroots level to mentor and nurture talent that is hidden and yet so abundant. Joy foundation started nurturing this talent as far back as 2011. It is my belief that this objective can only be realized if the different stakeholders work together towards the realization of our country's national vision 2036, African Union’s Agenda 2063 and other such concerned bodies who are concerned about breaking the gender inequality gap, especially in sports. My final wish is to see all of the dormant football activities such as under 13-17 women’s youth league, Re Ba Bona Ha and Premier Skills (grassroots youth development programs) take their rightful place in women's football. Let me also take this opportunity to thank our President, His Excellency Dr. Eric Mokgweetsi Masisi for appointing a young and vibrant sports lover in the person of Honourable Minister Mr. Tumiso Chillyboy Rakgare. I believe that through his able leadership women's football and other sporting codes will get the recognition they so deserve.
By Ms. Joy Setshedi, BFA Leadership Aspirant