The Burundi women's national football team represents Burundi in women's international football competitions. The team, however, has not competed in a match recognised by FIFA, the sport's international governing body. A senior national team is inactive, but an under-20 team has played in numerous matches. Further development of football in the country faces challenges found across Africa, including inequality and limited access to education for women. A women's football programme did not exist in Burundi until 2000, and only 455 players had registered for participation on the national level by 2006.
In 1985, almost no country in the world had a women's national football team. While the sport grew in popularity worldwide in the ensuing years, Burundi did not have an official team until more than two decades later. By 2009, however, Burundi had a FIFA-recognised senior national team nicknamed the Swallows and a FIFA-recognised Burundi women's under-20 national team. The under-20 team played one international match in 2002, one in 2004 and one in 2006.
The senior national football team has never competed in a FIFA-sanctioned fixture and has not competed at the Women's World Cup. The team was one of 200 preparing for a qualification tournament for the cup in 2007, but did not play in the competition. The team has withdrawn from numerous other events. Burundi was to play in the 2008 African Women's Championship but withdrew from the tournament, giving the Democratic Republic of the Congo an automatic qualification. The team also withdrew from the 2010 and 2012 editions of the Africa Women Cup of Nations before the first-round qualifiers. Burundi has not participated in other major events on the continent, including the 2011 All-Africa Games. As of March 2012, the team was not ranked by FIFA.
Burundi was scheduled to participate in a competition in 2007 organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in Zanzibar. Nicholas Musonye, the secretary of the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa), said of the event, "CAF wants to develop women's football in this region in recognition of the milestones Cecafa has achieved over the years. CAF appreciates what Cecafa has done despite the hardships the association has gone through, from financial problems to political instability in member states and poor management of associations. Member states in the Cecafa region have not taken women's football seriously. CAF now wants to sponsor a long-term campaign to attract women from this region into the game." The competition was canceled due to lack of funds.
Women's football is now [a] big deal. The standard that we have attained in Africa is good enough. Soon, an African team will challenge seriously for the World Cup. But we need far more support from governments and big business.
The development of women's football in Africa faces several challenges, including limited access to education, poverty amongst women, inequalities and human rights abuses. Many quality female footballers leave their home countries for better opportunities elsewhere. Another issue facing women's football is institutional. Most of the funding for the sport in Africa comes from FIFA, not from national football federations.
The Football Federation of Burundi, the country's national association, created a woman's football programme in 2000. By 2006, there were just 455 registered women players, and the absence of a thriving women's game has been an obstacle for the national team.Lydia Nsekera is the head of the national football association.
Outside the national federation, the Commission nationale du football féminin was established by the 1990s, and a league and women's teams were organised in the same period in Bujumbura.
^"Tanzania yapaa viwango FIFA" (in Swahili). New Habari. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012. Nchi nyingine za CECAFA ambazo ni Rwanda, Burundi, Djibouti, Somalia na Sudan hazina soka la wanawake la ushindani kiasi ya kuwa na timu ya taifa.[permanent dead link]
^"Burundi - Lydia Nsekera, la "Madame Thatcher du football" à la Fifa" (in French). Slate Afrique. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012. Elle a beaucoup œuvré pour inciter les femmes du Burundi à pratiquer ce sport. Dans les années 1990, en tant que présidente de la Commission nationale du football féminin, elle a mis en place des équipes féminines à Bujumbara et a créé un championnat de football uniquement dédié aux femmes.
^"Fifa : Lydia Nsekera, première dame du foot mondial". Jeune Afrique (in French). 30 May 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012. Elle a assouvi sa passion par procuration et contribué largement à changer les choses en créant des équipes féminines à Bujumbura, la capitale de cette ancienne colonie belge. À la fin des années 1990, la Fifa, pour encourager le développement du football au Burundi, se tourne naturellement vers Lydia Nsekera.