AMMAN, October 14, 2016 – Despite the difficult economic and social situation, Venezuela has always been recognized as a country of wealth, opportunities and mainly for the beauty of its women. And when it comes to football, the Tricolor is also famous for the achievement of the Women's National Team in all categories.
Eight years ago, a Panamanian named Kenneth Zseremeta began a tour across Venezuela in order to recruit the best players who lived in the country. No matter where they were, the current U-17 Women's Team coach was there, observing, helping and supporting those potential talents who now wear the burgundy jersey.
Zeremeta’s dream slowly became true. Some of the most recent achievements since he took over are: South American champions (twice), a silver medal in the Youth Olympics and three appearances in FIFA World Cups (two with U-17 and one with the U-20 team).
Although the Women’s national team blossomed in all categories, the reality is different when we look at the National League. Unsuitable places for football development and lack of economic and government support are some of the negative aspects that can’t match the growth rathe of “La Vinotinto”.
In Venezuela there is a professional women’s league but it is not as professional as the male’s. There are no own stadiums, or media coverage, or player agents to help the players go abroad and earn better salaries, but they all still play for the pride of representing their country and to show that this sport is not only for men but also for women.
Maykerlin Astudillo, player of Estudiantes de Guárico, current champions of Venezuela, explained to AIPS the reality she lives in: “Women's football is pretty decadent, we have to improve many aspects to reach great things. For the development of football, we need more financial support, because the players have the desire but no-one is backing them”.
Just a few clubs of Venezuela’s First and Second Divisions have decided to form female teams, some others dare and bet on their growth, such as Caracas FC, Deportivo La Guaira and Deportivo Lara, but this does not seem be enough. The Venezuelan Football Federation has no hesitation in supporting the national team, but as for the clubs, the reality is very different.
“Today we are becoming a world power in women's football and people seem to have not noticed. Even the same Federation has struggled to understand”, he said to Diario Meridiano, one of the most important newspapers of Venezuela.
The national team vs. football clubs
On March 20, 40,000 thousand fans showed their support to the Vinotinto team at the Metropolitano de Cabudare Stadium, in Barquisimeto, as the national team were crowned champions of the U-17 South American. However, the attendance was not similar when the National League began - Venezuelans seemed to have forgotten the accomplishment of the girls who play precisely in Venezuela.
The Caracas FC is one of the teams with the most titles in the local league. In 2014 they were runners-up in the Women's Copa Libertadores and are ranked 65 according to FIFA Ranking.
Many of these players do not see football as a hobby, but as a profession they love and start from an early age. Most of them are poor and, through football, try to help their families get ahead.
Thanks to Kenneth Zseremeta, many skillful players have been discovered. The question is how many more could be part of the national team if they had the necessary financial support to keep recruiting. As the female Vinotinto teams march forward, the club system continues to be virtually non-existent.