WOMEN football is an integral part of the development of the girl child and her participation not only in this sporting discipline, but also in sport generally.
It gives the girl child the opportunity to excel which only boys enjoyed in the past.
It also keeps the girl from the mischief, drug and sexual abuse which normally come with idleness.
When properly funded, it creates employment for a number of girls who would have probably shunned the sport.
In the last decade, we have had serious women football teams, especially in Bulawayo where we had the likes of Highlanders Royals, New Orleans and Inline Academy while Harare had Mufakose Queens and Black Rhinos.
The Mighty Warriors — the senior national team — was a feared brand in the region, second only to South Africa which had the advantage of limitless resources.
We featured regularly and won the Cosafa Cup and also competed in the African Women Championships with zeal.
When Susan Chibizhe left the game died down, only to be revived when Mavis Gumbo came on the scene in 2010, when once again the Mighty Warriors and the league were the pride of the region.
Coaches Rosemary Mugadza and Sithethelelwe Sibanda even attained coaching badges in Germany during Gumbo’s time.
We are grateful for Gumbo’s efforts to uplift the girl child.
Sibanda is now the assistant coach of Premier Soccer League club Tsholotsho Football Club while we have two other women doing media work at giants FC Platinum (Chido Chizondo) and Caps United (Joyce Kapota).
These achievements pose a great challenge to the current leadership led by Mirriam Sibanda who took over last year.
She has got her work cut out. She has a lot to do to revive women’s football. When the judgment eventually comes from all football stakeholders who include the multitudes of fans and the always sceptical media, she cannot give any excuses. She should know the buck stops at her door.
Fans are very much aware of the infighting in the football-controlling body Zifa and that Sibanda is unavoidably drawn into the fights, but that will count for nothing when her achievement or lack of it is put to public scrutiny.
People will judge Sibanda on her four years in office and determine whether they have been beneficial to the girl child, or have been a waste. This will be mainly based on the achievement of the women’s teams on the field of play.
Previous leaderships of the women’s game complained too about this and that, but made sure league matches were played and in a proper way too!
Leadership is about engaging every stakeholder including sponsors. In the past big companies came to the party because they were approached and persuaded to support the game. These included diamond miner Marange and mobile phone giant NetOne.
They came into the game because they saw its potential to uplift a vital section of the populace and also to fly the country’s flag high.
Sibanda has been in football administration for a while and brings with her lots of experience in that regard.
She should harness that experience and channel it to the development of the game. Anything less will not do.