New Stars ready to shine

New Stars women’s side with coach Tshepo Moolisa, third from left.

New Stars FC, from Khayelitsha, might have been just five years old, but they are eager to make their mark, especially in women’s football. This is according to club founder and women’s coach Tshepo Moolisa.

Vukani caught up with him after his side lost against Mitchell’s Plain outfit Tafelzught in their Safa Regional Women’s League encounter, a fortnight ago.

He believes that women’s football in South Africa has a bright future as there is enough talent on display.

“We take women’s football seriously. In fact, our mission is to fight gender-based violence using sport in general and football in particular. We want to portray the character of equality, that if men can do it, women can do it too,” he said.

Moolisa also noted that they try to make sure they treat their members equally, irrespective of their gender or age.

“We are all the same and that is what we instill in our members.”

His side bounced back to winning ways at the weekend, beating Strandfontein Women’s FC 4-0, at CPUT.

That was a morale booster for the side as they prepare for this weekend’s double header against Winnie FC, in Gugulethu on Saturday, and Southend at CPUT on Sunday.

Former footballer Moolisa, who has played for Ajax Cape Town juniors from under-9 to under-17, said he was “provoked” by seeing children being abused by drugs, and decided to establish the club in 2016.

“There was a lot of consultation before the formation of the club. I spoke to a lot of people, introduced myself and explained my intentions. I am from Khayelitsha, once played for Ajax Cape Town but couldn’t get the breakthrough I needed. So, I wanted to play my part in an attempt to give children that platform,” he said.

Moolisa say they only had one team, boys open side, when they started out in 2016. The following year, they added three more teams, the under-10, under-14 and under-18. Their women’s team was added in 2018.

Their men’s and boys’ teams play in the Monwabisi LFA, a Khayelitsha-based LFA which plays their matches at Swartklip sports field in Tafelsig, Mitchell’s Plain. The women’s side, on the other hand, play in the Safa Regional Women’s League.

“When we started out, five years ago, we had about 25 players and assistant staff. Today, we have about 220 plays and are still growing. In fact, we are still busy recruiting players because our founding principles are to give every youngster a chance.”

Moolisa also noted that their five-year journey was not without its fair share of challenges.

“The pandemic was one of our biggest challenges. It cost our initiative a lot, it actually halted most of our plans. But, having said that,we still have a good support system,” he said.

“Funding, of course, has been an issue too. We had to dig deep in that regard too but luckily people came on board, like Edmond Touhy from Velocity Trade, who’s been helpful to us.”

He said they have already seen some success stories as three of their boys have been approached by the Gordon Igesund Academy. On top of tha, he said, three of their female players are now playing in a higher division, the Safa League, for Ikamva United.

“It is good to see that they are able to grab the opportunity with both hands.”

So, who is Tshepo Moolisa?

“Tshepo is an energetic youngman who was born in the Western Cape. I went to Hopolang Primary School in Khayelitsha where my love of sport was ignited. I then moved to Uxolo high school, also in Khayelitsha. There, I excelled in football and athletics among other sporting codes. So, yes, I have been an all-round sportsman. As I said, I also played for Ajax juniors. But didn’t get enough support to push me all the way. I am not complaining, It was just not to be. I have learnt a lot from my experience at Ajax. And I use what I’ve learnt then in what I do now,” he said.

He also noted that a special mention should go to his colleagues, who have worked hard in the past five years: Mzukisi Faku, Anele Tofile, Bongiswa Ganyati and Nicolas Motaung.

“They are passionate about the club.”

New Stars women’s side with coach Tshepo Moolisa, third from left.