Football has traditionally been regarded as a male sport dominated by male athletes and administrators. However, there is a special crop of women who have defied the gender stereotype to reach the pinnacle of football administration in South Africa. The emergence of women football administrators such as the first Vice-president of the South African Football Association (SAFA) Ria Ledwaba, and other capable women like Natasha Tsichlas and Mato Madlala has seen a rapid rise in the popularity and development of women in football in South Africa.
These torchbearers have inspired other women who aspire to follow in their footsteps such our very own Emma Hendricks from Upington Management Area, who was elected as a member of the SAFA Council in 2018.
The Grade 3 Correctional Official under Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture (SRAC) at Upington has nurtured her passion for football and engaged actively in the sport since the early 1990s. She is head of delegation for the senior national women’s team, Banyana Banyana who are currently taking part in the World Cup qualification tournament in Ghana. Banyana Banyana secured their spot at the 2019 World Cup in France following their semi-finals triumph over Mali last night. Banyana beat Mali by 2 goals to nil and will face their perennial nemesis, Nigeria, in the final.
Ms Hendricks became the first female president of SAFA’s Siyanda region in 2016, thereby debunking the myth that football is a male sport. She has shaken the male-dominated South African football fraternity with her robust approach.