Monday 03 July 2023, 08:00

Malawi and Zambia host women’s club licensing workshops

  • Zambia, who will shortly make their FIFA Women’s World Cup debut, are looking to inspire more young, aspiring footballers across the country

  • The Football Association of Malawi are targeting the professionalisation of women's football in the country

  • FIFA Women’s Football Expert expressed his excitement about the women’s football landscape in both countries

Zambia and Malawi are both located in the southern half of the African continent and are also neighbouring countries. This however is not the only thing that connects them; in the last week, both member associations have hosted a FIFA Women's Football Club Licensing workshop.

The programme is one of FIFA’s eight development initiatives aligned to its Women’s Football Strategy and aims to support the professionalisation of the women’s game by raising the standards of women’s clubs and leagues across the globe.

Focused on existing senior leagues at national and confederation levels that have not yet set up a formal club licensing system - as well as leagues at the national level that wish to strengthen their foundations – the FIFA programme provides support for two years, with access to expert staff, up to USD 25,000 in funding and football equipment for up to 12 teams.

The first of these workshops was held on Friday 23 June, in Zambia, one of the eight debutant countries at the upcoming FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™.

The country already has a fully-fledged women’s league and strong participation too in its provinces. The national team, the Copper Queens are currently ranked 77th in the world: its best position ever. Now, the member association is actively seeking to inspire more aspiring female footballers across the country.

The launch of the workshop, held in the country's capital, Lusaka, was attended by representatives of twenty clubs, Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) President Andrew Kamanga and FAZ Executive Committee Women’s Football representative Colonel Priscilla Katoba. Colonel Katoba urged the clubs to soak up as much information as possible and to fully embrace club licensing for the development of the game.

José Andres Portabella is a FIFA Women’s Football Expert and delivered the Club Licensing workshop. He expressed his excitement about the current women’s football landscape in Zambia.

“The buzz around the women’s game is at an all-time high and must now begin to move to the next level, where fundamental structures are further established” he said.

“Everyone knows the story of the Copper Queens that historically qualified to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and now the FIFA Women’s World Cup” added FAZ President Kamanga. “These are milestones we cherish, but it is now time to explore ways of ensuring that our clubs are fully appraised of the demands of the modern game, to be able to continue our evolution.”

Women's Club Licensing Workshop in Zambia

On 27 June, Mpira Village, headquarters of the Football Association of Malawi (FAM), hosted the second Club Licensing workshop, where the objective of professionalizing women's football in the country was also top of the agenda.

The workshop brought together representatives from the twenty-four teams that participate in the FAM Women’s Leagues, members of the national women’s Football Association, as well as the FAM secretariat staff.

“By being in the room today, together with our women’s football clubs, it is a strong gesture that we do not want to stay where we are. We want to move forward,” said FAM President, Walter Nyamilandu Manda.

“Professionalising women’s football is all about mindset change and challenging ourselves to collectively do more and look beyond the obstacles” he continued. President Nyamilandu Manda went on to highlight how through further development, Malawi’s women’s national team could target increased competitiveness at both continental, and global competition level.

Ellina Mumba of the Ascent Academy provided a Malawian club perspective. “The event has been a wonderful experience. We have learnt how we can improve women’s football through having proper administration structures, and change the way we conduct our business, to continue our journey towards professionalisation” she concluded.