On Tuesday, cricket made strides in South Africa that no other sport has. Women’s domestic leagues will be professional, and female international players will get the same match fees as their male counterparts. As a result, while CA’s base contract is the same for men and women, CSA will be only the third national board to offer pay equity on game days, after NZC and the BCCI.
The league is planned for the upcoming 2023–24 season, and the modifications will be put into effect beginning with South Africa’s ODI and T20I series against Pakistan in Karachi, which begins on September 1. Over the following three years, the measures will increase CSA’s expenses by the equivalent of USD 2.13 million, of which USD 799,000 will be covered by the government.
The professional league, which would include competitions in both white-ball versions and offer prize money for the champions, will be made up of the top level of six of the 16 present women’s provincial clubs. The teams will be able to sign 11 players each, up from the current six, including the Lions, Titans, Western Province, Dolphins, Free State, and Garden Route Badgers. Salaries will be on par with those of the highest-paid male athletes in the second division. A head coach, an assistant coach, a physical therapist, and a strength and conditioning specialist will all work with each team. Women will make up at least 50% of the support workers.
Cricket has pledged to provide women with levels of equality that no other team sport in South Africa will. In fact, there are no professional competitions in any of the other team sports in the nation. Zizi Kodwa, the minister of sports, was aware of these facts.
At the league’s inauguration on Tuesday in Tshwane, previously Pretoria, Kodwa stated, “What we are celebrating today is not about monetary value but about leadership and political will.” “When I first joined the ministry in March, I learned of other federations to whom the government had pledged millions in support of professionalizing women’s sport as far back as 2018. That has not yet come to pass.
“The period for grand declarations, nonstop chatter, and empty promises must end. We met with the top five federations in the nation during the first week of our appointment and emphasized this. The only federation that appears to have comprehended what we stated is [CSA].
“Earlier, I questioned whether it was intentional or an oversight not to invite other federations to this event because I believe they may benefit from some advice. I wish more people were listening in as we chat.
Particularly notable are the football suits. The South African Football Association (Safa)’s first-choice national women’s team declined to play Botswana in a friendly on 2 July because, according to them, the pitch at the venue, a veritable cabbage patch of clay and clumps of grass 50 kilometers outside of Johannesburg, was dangerous. The players were concerned that the circumstances could cause injury, especially with the upcoming World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. They were also dissatisfied because Safa would not pay them to participate in the competition. The South Africans performed better on the pitch, as they became the only male or female side from their nation to go to the round of 16 in a football World Cup.
We don’t want any federation to experience what Banyana Banyana [the name of the national women’s football team] did, added Kodwa.
Tuesday’s news kept women’s sports in South Africa front and center. The T20 World Cup, which South Africa hosted in February, saw Sune Luus’ squad get to the championship game. The Netball World Cup was held in Cape Town in July and August. Despite finishing sixth overall despite being runners-up in 1995, the local team received fervent support throughout the tournament. The football team’s efforts in their World Cup, which ended on Sunday, received high praise as well. It should be praised that cricket has been the only code to acknowledge the growth of the women’s game and put its money where its mouth is. CSA makes many mistakes, but not all of them.