History was made on Wednesday when pan-African broadcast network, Kwesé, handed over prize-money totaling R1-million to the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championships, elevating the status of the event to that of the senior men’s competition.
It is a massive stamp of approval from the exclusive broadcaster for the women’s game in the region, which has grown immensely in recent years with more participation at all age-group levels through most Southern African countries.
South Africa lifted the trophy at the tournament held in Zimbabwe in September last year, beating their hosts in the decider, while Zambia edged East African guest nation Kenya to the bronze medal.
Present at the draw to receive the cheques was Banyana Banyana vice captain Refiloe Jane (she was the captain of the squad at the tournament in Zimbabwe) and she was accompanied by compatriot Noko Matlou – one of the longest serving members of the South African Senior Women’s National Team with over 100 caps. Zimbabwe was represented by captain, Talent Mandaza, while Misozi Zulu collected on behalf of Zambia. The Kenyans were unable to grace the occasion.
The teams were rewarded for their prowess as South Africa received a cheque for R500,000 and Zimbabwe took home R250,000. Zambia collected R150,000 for third place and Kenya R100,000.
These are the same amounts that were handed out at the 2017 men’s senior championship in South Africa, putting the two events on par in terms of reward for the teams that excel.
“We take great pride in being able to elevate the prize-money for the COSAFA Women’s Championship to the same level as for our senior men’s competition to make a statement about how seriously we take women’s football in the region,” says COSAFA President Dr Phillip Chiyangwa.
“Our nations have made great strides in recent years, including both South Africa and Zimbabwe representing the African continent at the Olympic Games in 2016, and we are sure that this will assist in the further development of the women’s game.
“We extend our heartfelt thanks to Kwesé TV for their continued support of women’s football in our region, as well as our other COSAFA properties, as together we seek to take the game to new audiences and grow our fanbase across the region.”
Joseph Hundah, President and CEO, Econet Media, says they were delighted to contribute to the growth of women’s football in the region.
“We at Kwesé have a keen commitment towards showcasing and promoting quality women’s sports from all over the continent across our multiple platforms,” said Hundah.
“We are excited to be part of this amazing tournament and continue to look forward to further collaborations with COSAFA.”
The 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championships is due to be played late August and early September this year, while there is also a women’s Under-20 tournament that is scheduled for December.