Women’s Football – Sissi’s Doubts
It is a view shared by Sissi, or Sisleide do Amor Lima to use her full name. Considered one of the best players in the world in her time, she topped the scoring charts at the 1999 Women’s World Cup with seven goals. Now 40, she travelled to Santiago de Chile as an ambassador to talk about her career and the women’s game in her home country of Brazil.
Sissi, who remained in the US after hanging up her boots, now works as a coach near San Francisco and is convinced the women’s game in South America has enormous potential even though she has doubts about whether it can ever be realised. Chile will show it is possible.
There are some exceptionally talented women players in South America, especially in Brazil, but also in Argentina. According to Sissi, however, the associations are not doing enough to support these players or women’s football. Youth work is a problem, as is recognition of the game. The glaring majority of South Americans continue to ignore women’s football. Interest among the public, not least among the media and potential investors, is extremely low, to put it politely.
Along with other South American association presidents, Mayne-Nicholls now aims to inject momentum into the women’s game on the continent, provide more targeted support and thus make it more popular and attractive.
In Chile, women’s football is experiencing a boom. More and more girls are playing the game, clubs are being founded and leagues are in planning. The FFCH is increasingly involving the media in its many activities. Mayne-Nicholls and his colleagues are being backed by the government, who have already released USD 3.5 million for infrastructure measures ahead of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2008 and also launched a national schools competition for girls in August 2007.
The backing comes as little surprise. Education minister Yazna Provoste, honorary guest and speaker at the Com-Unity seminar, loves football and regularly takes to the field herself. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is also fond of the game and agreed without hesitation to serve as the honorary president of the local organising committee for the U-20 Womens World Cup Chile 2008. The country’s first female president has also added football to the school curriculum.