- 4 December will be a landmark date for women’s football in South Sudan
- New women's football strategy has four key goals
- National women’s league due to start in February 2021
On 9 July 2011, the Republic of South Sudan gained independence. A year later, it became FIFA’s 209th member association. In 2019, the women’s national team played its first international game during the CECAFA Women’s Football Championship.
This weekend, the South Sudan FA will launch another ‘first’: a women’s football strategy, designed to span 2021-2024. Vice President of the Republic Mama Rebecca will be guest of honour at a specially organised symposium.
Bordered to the east by Ethiopia, to the north by Sudan, to the west by the Central African Republic, to the south-west by Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the south by Uganda and to the south east by Kenya, South Sudan is considered to be among the youngest nations in the world with roughly 50 per cent of its population of 12 million, under the age of 18.
Speaking ahead of the launch, SSFA President, Amin Francis said: “The plan is to include everyone. We want to continue supporting more women in football through training more coaches, referees and also the new women’s national league, due to start in February 2021.”
Entitled Stars Unite, the strategy aims to build an inclusive and sustainable future for women's and girls’ football in South Sudan, focused on four key goals:
- To increase the number of female coaches, referees, players and administrators. A series of measures including women-only courses are planned;
- Increase the number of girls playing football at grassroots and community level by 70 per cent through school festivals and community outreach projects. Currently there are 5,000 players nationwide.
- Launch a national women’s football league, building an elite player pathway for teams from each region of the country. As well as committing to participate in six international tournaments with the women’s national team, with players provided with central contracts.
- Develop a marketing and communications strategy to boost awareness, advocacy and the sport. Using ambassadors from the worlds of sport and music.
The new project manager for the Stars Unite women's football strategy, who also doubles as the women’s development officer, Helen Tarso Aninyesi said: “We want to show the world that South Sudan is growing in women's football. We also want to change the mindset of some people who still don’t believe that women can play football.”
South Sudan women's national team captain Amy Lasu Luate, who is the first woman to be appointed a Player Ambassador by the SSFA for women’s football in South Sudan, explained: “The women’s football strategy is a big step for our country and for us as players. It is going to create a platform for us to showcase our talents here at home and also in other parts of the world.”