Two young girls from Khayelitsha are preparing to travel to Sweden as part of the Rainbow Team, which is based in Camps Bay, to participate in a Gothia cup early next month.
The Gothia Cup is the largest international youth football tournament. Each year, around 1 700 teams from 80 nations take part and they play 4 500 matches on 110 pitches.
Tina Gocini and Siphosethu Tinga-Tinga are part of Ikasi Soccer School which is a school development programme for young girls.
Tina said she was over the moon with excitement. The bubbly 15-year-old Luhlaza High School pupil said she joined the programme in 2018 because she just loved football. She never imagined she’d get the opportunity to play overseas.
“I’m the first one in my family to go overseas. In fact, in my entire village I am the first one. I feel so happy and can’t put it into words how I feel.
“Funny enough my parents were like I’m suitable to play netball as opposed to playing football. But I told them I can’t play netball while I knew that I could play it but I was just enjoying football,” she said.
Founder and director of Ikasi Soccer Schools, Dumisani Ntsodo, said they were invited to bring girls for trials. Out of 20 girls, he said these two girls were selected.
The girls have been playing in trials to be part of the Rainbow Team since 2019 and were thrilled when they were informed that they were among the 14 players who had been selected to be part of the team.
Mr Ntsodo said his daily prayer had been that at least one girl made it onto the team. And he’s relieved that parents won’t have to worry about the costs of getting the girls to the tournament.
“There is no stress whereby we have to fundraise for the costs of the trip. I mean there is nothing that parents will need to worry about, everything has been provided for,” he said.
‘’When I started this project it never crossed my mind that one day I will have girls that will travel overseas because of this programme.”
Siphosethu said she joined the programme in 2018 after some of her coaches noticed that she had a talent for football.
She said she sees herself as a professional footballer and is excited about going overseas especially that she will be the first in her family to fly – let alone to go overseas.