The TOTALENERGIES CAF Women’s Champions League l COSAFA Qualifier from August 26 to September 4 is an exciting new entry into the calendar for the region and will raise the standard of club football in more ways than one.
The draw on Thursday saw South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies seeded in Group A, where they will take on Lesotho Defence Force, Double Action Ladies from Botswana and Eswatini’s Manzini Wanderers.
Zambian side Green Buffaloes are the seeds in the three-team Group B and have been drawn alongside Black Rhinos Queens of Zimbabwe and TURA Magic from Namibia. The top two teams in each pool advance to the semifinals.
But aside from the action on the pitch, COSAFA has also been raising the bar by introducing club licensing that means teams have to meet a minimum standard. It forced Mozambican club Costa do Sol to have to pull out.
“Quite a few of the participants here are the ladies’ section of the men’s teams, so the club as a whole will have knowledge of the club licensing regulations,” COSAFA General Secretary Sue Destombes told The COSAFA Show.
“Being a first time for women’s clubs, the regulations have been lowered because we do have to give ladies stand-alone teams time to get themselves there.”
Destombes says the regulations have been approved by the Confederation of African Football to raise the standards of the women’s game.
“Every club should have access to their own stadium, not necessarily to own it, but have access for training and matches.
“This year CAF have been very lenient with the coaching licenses to give an opportunity for the clubs to catch up, so the head coach this year must have a CAF A, B or C license. By next year that will change.
“The assistant coaches this year have no requirements, but that will also change next year. So it is forcing clubs who have ladies’ sections to get their house in order across the sporting, technical and administrative criteria. It is good, it protects the stature of the competition.”