Main Article Content
Football is the most popular female team sport in the world and specifically in South Africa. Yet, information pertaining to physical and health-related fitness parameters of female football players is sparse. Therefore, this study evaluated the profiles of first division female football players (n=133; age: 20.2 ± 5.7 years; body mass: 56.9 ± 9.6 kg; stature: 159.9 ± 6.4 cm) in Gauteng province, South Africa with specific reference to anthropometric and performance attributes. Various field tests were used to profile of the female football players’ physical (body fat percentage, body circumferences, flexibility, balance) and fitness (muscular strength and endurance, explosive power, acceleration and speed, agility and aerobic and anaerobic capacities) parameters. Participants were stratified according to playing positions (goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and strikers) and data on their physical attributes and performances analysed using Kruskal Wallis tests. The tested sample yielded largely homogenous data, with only a few variables indicating disparities across playing positions. Specifically, greater body fat percentage (p = 0.023) and BMI (p = 0.014) were noted in goalkeepers than the other categories of players. Strikers were the worst performers in flexibility tests (p < 0.05) and defenders the slowest group in acceleration test (p = 0.008). The similar physical and performance characteristics among the various categories of players could be attributed to the teams’ lack of exposure to position-specific training programmes and suggest that positional distinction may not be apparent in first division female football. The results of this study could be useful to coaches and trainers to emphasise the physical and performance qualities that are essential for female football development.
Keywords: Anthropometry, positional attributes, specificity of training.