Khaya soccer administrator digs up rough diamonds

Khayelitsha Local Football Association (LFA) youth convenor Mziyanda Dzi Pawuli, says there is nothing more fulfilling than digging up rough diamonds.

Khayelitsha Local Football Association (LFA) youth convenor, Mziyanda Pawuli, 27, is one of the youngest, and underrated football administrators around.

But, as those in the know would tell you, he has, in fact, been instrumental in many of the association’s achievements over the years.

Pawuli has been part of the LFA for eight years now and wears many hats, having served in many capacities, from coach to secretary.

Besides being an Online Reservation Agent by profession, the Khayelitsha-born is also a manager at Zimasa Stars FC.

Although working in soccer administration is considered by some as a thankless task, Pawuli remains passionate about dealing with football-related matters and more than happy to share his experiences, as well as dreams for the LFA and Cape Town football in general.

“I grew up in the streets of Khayelitsha and started playing soccer at the age of 8, for Red Eagles, Vasco Da Gama, Santos, Black Stars and Zimasa Stars,” he said.

Once he reached the age of 21, he realised that his chances of making it professionally were slimmer. That’s when he decided to hang his boots.

But, as a football man through-and-through, he was not going to turn his back on the game he loves. That’s when he decided to go into coaching youngsters.

“I coached Black Stars, Zimasa Stars and Khayelitsha Inter LFA division several times. I actually joined Zimasa Stars in 2016, where my main focus was to manage the club including administration and approaching sponsors to come on board.

“That year we claimed our first ever Khayelitsha LFA Super League title and, on top of that, I was elected as the Association’s youth convenor. I also served as the general secretary of the LFA,” he said.

Pawuli says working with youngsters is one of the closest things to his heart because he gets to play an active role in moulding some of the area’s future stars.

And, that’s what he and his colleagues at the LFA have done, digging up rough diamonds in the process, including Ajax Cape Town’s Bhongolwethu Siyasi.

“I’m really enjoying being a youth convenor because you get to interact with juniors who are from different backgrounds and cultures. My duty is to create fixtures and logs, making sure games are running smoothly and send monthly reports to the mother body, Safa Cape Town,” he said.

“I also promote social cohesion and sportsmanship among coaches and players. In 2015, for instance, I launched the Zimasa under-14 Friendship Cup soccer tournament which is going stronger every year and children from different places are coming to Khayelitsha to enjoy youth sport.”

Looking ahead, Pawuli said his short-term goal is to secure a sponsorship that will enable the LFA do their business without worrying about finances. And on top of that, to have a soccer tournament for every division.

“As for medium and long-term goals, I want to make sure our coaches have D coaching licenses, which is in line with Safa’s Vision 2022 programme.”

This, he said, shouldn’t be a problem as Safa Cape Town and Cape Town City FC host coaches for D licence courses for free.