When Sanlam Santos merged with Santos Professional Football Club in 2000 to become the latter official women’s team, few could have asked for a more successful first decade under the Cape clubs banner.
After winning promotion to the then-Halala League (the PSL of women’s soccer) in 2000, the Santos FC women’s team has established itself as one of the best teams in the country.
Since then, the team ended as runners-up for every season until 2008/09 by either a heartbreaking point or-even more unbearably-goal difference. Instead of losing heart, the team summoned up the courage to finally win the league in 2008/09.
The next season, the Santos FC women showed consistency by once again finishing as runners-up, this time losing by a single point to winners Cape Town Roses.
Besides their exploits in the league, Santos FC women won the sought-after Coca Cola Cup no less than thrice, in 2004, 2005 and 2008. They also ended as runners up in that competition in 2006 and 2007.
The team is aiming for a clean sweep of trophies next season, gunning for a holy trinity of the Sasol League, Coke Cup and national play-offs.
Such has been the success of the side that the national selectors have been forced to pay careful attention.
Among the big names the club has produced is the legendary Antonia Carelse, who was first called up to the senior national women’s team when she was 16 and played for the team until 2009 when she was 24. She also plied her trade for English giants Arsenal.
Other senior national team regulars include Lucinda Bowers and Danielle Clayford, who was the highest goalscorer in the league in 2008/2009 and 2009/2010.
The club also has on its books 13-year old Nicole October, who currently plays for the national U-15 team and 16-year old Jermaine Seoposengwe, who was called up to the national U-17.
Besides the Sasol League team, Santos FC also has a women’s team competing in the Absa League. This development side is designed to identify and groom talented players with a view on promoting them to the main Sasol team.
The Absa side themselves are also not strangers to league victory. They, together with the Sasol team, will hope to continue pushing Santos FC to even greater heights.