‘I will continue with our mandate of producing players for all our women’s national teams.’
FORMER Basetsana (SA Under-20 women) coach Sheryl Botes has been appointed by the Confederation of African Football as a women’s football instructor.
Botes will work with instructors in the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) region which includes countries such as Botswana, Comoros, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
She becomes only the second South African to be appointed to the post since the trailblazing Fran Hilton-Smith, who has held positions at the highest levels of the game, including Fifa.
Botes presently heads up women’s coaching at the South African Football Association (Safa) Girls Soccer Academy based at the High Performance Centre (HPC), in Pretoria. Her CAF appointment will not result in her leaving her appointment at the academy.
There is no certainty when Botes will start CAF duties because of the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown. AF’s letter of appointment read: “CAF is delighted to announce that you have completed the Women’s Instructor of Instructor training. This letter is an official document appointing you as the Regional B (Cosafa region) Instructor.
“During this time, you will be called to carry out tasks at local level, to participate in refresher women’s courses, to participate in CAF Women activities.”
The Girls Soccer Academy has been central to the development of women’s soccer in South Africa and over the last five years at least eight players per year have made it through to the national team (Banyana Banyana).
Botes is pleased that she will still play a role at the academy, despite the CAF appointment.
“No ways, I will still be around,” said Botes. I will continue with our mandate of producing players for all our women’s national teams.”
In recent times, CAF has stepped up its efforts to develop women’s football, and Botes feels she can make a difference.
“It is about making a difference and seeing the growth in women’s football,” said Botes. “Being part of CAF is about rubbing shoulders with the best on the continent.
“Yes, currently it is only myself and Fran, but I can promise you that there are more South African (women) coaches coming through the ranks. We have an abundance of knowledgeable female coaches in the country.
“It is a great achievement and I am so honoured to have been appointed as a CAF Instructor. I am so excited about the appointment – it allows me to share my knowledge and experience.”
CAF is following the lead set by Fifa, who pledged to invest $1 billion in the women’s game over the next four years.
Fifa said in a recent statement that its efforts to grow the women’s game will continue despite the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world.
“We can confirm that this funding has already been committed by Fifa and will not be impacted by the current Covid-19 crisis.”