Ria backed to retain position at SAFA

SA National Teams

Former SAFA assistant technical director Fran Hilton-Smith is backing Ria Ledwaba to retain her position as vice-president of the association.

Ledwaba was sacked last weekend after writing a letter to the Minister of Sport and Recreation Nathi Mthethwa to intervene in the Gay Mokoena report, amongst other things happening at SAFA.

The former Ria Stars owner was removed from her position together with Mokoena during the National Executive Committee meeting held in Johannesburg last Saturday.

READ: Ledwaba: This is injustice for women

Hilton-Smith says it would be a big loss for women's football in the country if Ledwaba does not retain her position at SAFA.

"It's so sad because there are only a few women in football at a high level. She has a long and strong history in football," Hilton-Smith tells KickOff.com.

"I know she is fighting for her right. That's what she is trying to fight for, her right with SAFA, what she believes in. It will be sad to lose her. What I am saying is there are so few women in football of her calibre.

"That will be sad, if she doesn't remain there, and I hope she does and is fighting to stay there. She is important.

READ: SAFA outlines return-to-play protocols

"She has paid her dues in football. She has served very well as a club owner and whatever. We would like to see her back in her position because she has a lot to offer."

Hilton-Smith has lamented the lack of women in leadership positions across all levels of South African football.

"It's a problem," she says. "We need more power for women in football. There are a lot out there but it's difficult to break into the ranks of getting up in football, not only in South Africa but most countries.

"It's difficult for women to break through in what is seen as a man's sport."

SAFA is obliged to appoint another female member as vice-president or to a senior position. Ledwaba remains a member of the SAFA NEC.

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