Clash of champions

Portia Mlilo
IN ACTION AGAIN: Double Action (in white) beat Mexican Girls 4-2 in last year's final

Quadruple the action in Gabs as four teams go to war

Girl power will be out in full force at the National Stadium this Saturday as the crème of the women’s game battle it out in the finals of the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) Botswana Women’s Football Championships.

Now in its second edition, the tournament features four teams seeking fame and glory, as well as a bumper pay-day seldom experienced in female football locally.

Having qualified automatically as defending champions, Double Action are hot favourites to retain their crown and pocket the P250, 000 prize money that once again awaits the winners.

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However, they face a tricky semi-final against Maun-based, Western Dynamites, a side bursting with exciting young talent.

Tuesday’s draw also saw Gaborone United matched up with Selibi Phikwe favourites Granada in the second semi.

The three sides qualified for the lucrative one-day knockout competition after winning their regional play-offs.

Speaking after the draw was made, Botswana Football Association CEO, Mfolo Mfolo said he was impressed at the speed in which the women’s game was progressing domestically.

He revealed 11 of the 17 regions now have at least one active women’s team.

Calling for more, Mfolo admitted it was slightly concerning that the western block, which covers Tsabong, Hukuntsi, Kang and Ghanzi, currently has no active sides.

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“This is a challenge on our side because when you look at our strategy, there is a pillar which talks to changing perceptions, which when we address it at the FIFA level is mass participation. We must have the girl child playing football across the country and women football committee must act on that. I am disappointed because when we had partnership with Slovakia, we gave Tsabong the kit that we got from them and now we don’t have women football in that region,” said Mfolo, noting the aim is for the Mares to qualify for the World Cup by 2035, adding DTC’s help makes this ambition all the more likely.

For his part, DTC Botswana Corporate Affairs Manager, Macdonald Motsele, said the partnership was about promoting gender equality in sport as well as helping unearth talent in rural areas.

“Since we started this sponsorship, we have realized a steady rise in terms of women teams from 47 to 132,” revealed Motsele, whose have pledged P1.5 million to the tournament in a three-year deal.

“We have the grassroots football festival taking place throughout Botswana which will feed to the league team. This final is going to be about appreciating and women football from the referee, coaches, players and to the ball girl,” added Motsele.

The action gets underway at Lekidi at 8am, with the losers’ final to be played at the National Stadium at 1400hrs, followed by the grand final at 1730hrs.

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Runners-up will get P150, 000, the team finishing third will receive P100, 000 while fourth place is worth P50, 000.

Entertainment will be provided by Charma Gal and entrance is free.

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