UWC Women’s Football Club set the ball rolling in the long-awaited opening round of the inaugural SAFA National Women's League (SNWL) when they took on Bloemfontein Celtic in Johannesburg at the weekend.
The league is an attempt to strengthen domestic women’s football in South Africa and UWC’s Women’s Football Club is one of three universities participating.
The clash between UWC and Celtic on Saturday, 24 August at the Nike Centre in Pimville, Soweto, ended 0-0. It was the first of six matches that took place at the same venue until Sunday.
UWC coach Thinasonke Mbuli expects the tournament to be tough but she is confident that her side - that beat Vasco Da Gama 3-1 a weekend ago - will reach the Coke Cup quarterfinals and will do well.
“Although we have three players (Antonio Maponya, Sinegugu Zondi and Nolubabalo Sishuba) who are with the national under-20 team (Basetsana) at the All Africa Games, we still have enough players who can play well anywhere in the field. I think we are ready for the weekend and we should do well in the competition. Maybe we can be the first team to win the Women’s National League,” said Mbuli.
With the addition of a few new faces, UWC has retained the core of players who won the Sasol League Western Cape last year to qualify for the inaugural SNWL. Among the big names to look out for is captain Bongeka Gamede, who was part of the Banyana Banyana team that won the Cosafa Cup recently and took part in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, as well as fellow Banyana teammate Khanya Xesi.
UWC is also in the running for the Regional Women’s League title. They are currently in second position in the regional league and will also participate in the Varsity Football and University Sport South Africa tournaments.