Minister of sport and recreation Tokozile Xasa. Picture: KOPANO TLAPE/GCIS
Minister of sport and recreation Tokozile Xasa. Picture: KOPANO TLAPE/GCIS

Sport and recreation minister Tokozile Xasa has revealed her department will contribute R5m over the next three years to the soon to be launched SA Football Association (Safa) National Women’s League‚ at the same time challenging corporate SA to match the support.

Xasa was speaking at a breakfast she hosted for Banyana Banyana ahead of their international matches against Netherlands and Sweden in Cape Town in the coming week.

The minister said her department was determined to support women’s football and build on the platform laid by the current generation of Banyana players‚ who qualified for the Fifa Women’s World Cup in France from June 7-July 7.

“Inequality is top of the agenda of South Africans and will continue to be so‚” Xasa said. “As a department it is important for us ... to show what we are doing in order to assist in our journey to fight this inequality.

“In the next three years we are availing R5m towards the Safa Women’s League and we want to challenge corporate SA to come to the party as well.

“We are excited that more girls are coming through and we are looking forward to more of you getting into the professional space.

“I challenge South Africans to support this league and women’s football by going to the stadium. We want more women who come to Premier Soccer League (PSL) matches to come and support Banyana Banyana.”

Xasa said the ultimate goal was to have women’s footballers paid as professionals.

“Hopefully we can turn around the mind-set in terms of sponsors‚ to get to the level where you can be comfortable as you dedicate your time to play the game. You need to be rewarded for this.”

Safa president Danny Jordaan also revealed that the World Cup-bound team would play the US in Los Angeles on May 12 and hosts France in the build-up to the global showpiece later in the year.

“It is important because they are playing against two teams [Netherlands and Sweden] that have been to the World Cup on many occasions,” he said.

“After this we play against the US in Los Angeles‚ a country that has won the World Cup. And then against France‚ a team that is also among the best.

“We could not have put together a better preparation for this team to go to the World Cup,” Jordaan said.

The match on Saturday against the Netherlands will be played as the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Challenge‚ while the fixture against the Swedes is played as the Albertina Sisulu Challenge.