Fans of women’s football in Santiago de Cali, Colombia, were treated to an unexpected sight at the Estadio Olímpico Pascual Guerrero on Saturday evening. In the final match of the Conmebol Libertadores Femenina, a Brazilian rivalry played out as Corinthians defeated Palmeiras to secure their fourth title. Despite the dominance of Brazilian teams in South American club football, players have observed advancements in other countries.
Tamires, the captain of Brazil’s Corinthians team, believes that currently Colombia has the strongest teams. She finds it challenging to play against them and also notes the strength of Argentina’s Boca Juniors, who made it to the final last year. The support of fans for their national teams and clubs is also impressive, with records being broken in Peru and Colombia. Tamires sees the investment of Brazilian clubs like Corinthians in women’s football as a source of inspiration for other countries and leagues.
“The 36-year-old individual states that Brazil is making changes. The Brazilian Football Association has been instrumental in promoting the growth of women’s football in our country. The television industry recognizes the potential and clubs have been increasing their investments. As players, we understand our role in this progress and strive to set an example. We must work together to further develop women’s football and encourage other clubs to invest in effective strategies.”
Numerous concerns were raised by players and fans about the format of the competition. In response, Conmebol has raised the amount of prize money awarded, with Corinthians receiving $1.7 million and Palmeiras receiving $600,000. The president of the federation, Alejandro Domínguez, has commended the players for their contribution to the growth of women’s football during the tournament.
He expressed gratitude towards them for overcoming challenges and helping to inspire future generations to view football as a means of personal growth. He also acknowledged the players for their historic accomplishments and their positive impact on the sport.
The tournament, which consists of 16 teams, spans over a period of approximately two weeks. For this season, it was held from October 5th to 21st at either the Estadio Olímpico Pascual Guerrero in Cali or the Estadio Metropolitano de Techo in Bogotá. The unusual kickoff times, such as 3pm on weekdays, resulted in a low attendance of fans.
Tamires agrees the tournament needs to improve. “This is a bad format,” she says. “Not only for the players and for the club, because playing every couple of days is really strenuous. And then there is the issue of not playing a semi-final or a final at home, with a home crowd. We can do more. Maybe if we played a Colombian team we’d have better attendances; if the tournament was better advertised. But whoever was at the stadium was able to watch a great final.”
Tarciane, the 20-year-old defender for Corinthians, was ejected during the final match but still showed her support for her teammates by watching from the stands. However, she expressed disappointment over the small number of attendees at the Pascual Guerrero stadium, which has a capacity of over 37,000 but only had 3,580 fans present. “It’s frustrating to have a final with two Brazilian teams and not have our fans there to support us,” she stated. “This needs to be addressed and improved for next year.”
The 25-year-old Victória echoes her teammates’ appeals but calls for caution in the process. “Of course we want to see the Libertadores expand and grow even more, and reach an even bigger audience. I think it’s time to review it, but every step needs to be structured so that we can develop and value the women’s game.”
During the 2022 Copa América Femenina final, Brazil faced a tough challenge from Colombia for the entire 90 minutes, yet they were able to defend their title. Brazil has emerged victorious in eight out of the nine editions of the tournament. This dominance is also evident at the club level, but there is a growing presence of talented young players from other countries who are helping to close the gap.
Tarciane states that the quality of the game has greatly improved and clubs from other countries have increased their investments. They now have more confidence in women’s football. There are also talented younger players in the continent who are already excelling in the sport and representing their continent.
Many South American clubs and national teams look to Europe for inspiration, as the success of club and international continental tournaments continues to grow in popularity and attract investment. Victória, who briefly played for Madrid CFF, believes that Corinthians are keeping pace with the developments in European women’s football. She states, “We can learn a great deal from the culture in European women’s football, such as how to conduct ourselves and improve the game.” Tamires, a veteran player for Brazil, shares this sentiment.
South American teams should recognize the value of providing solid foundations for players and investing in youth development programs. I believe there are numerous young girls who aspire to become exceptional footballers in the future. By investing in these children and providing them with better resources, we can positively impact the current state of football.
Katie McCabe’s impressive goal in Arsenal’s victory of 2-1 against Bristol City was truly remarkable. The Irish midfielder has netted three goals in the last two matches.
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