Resilient and Victorious United Women’s Football Club were crowned the first Engen Knockout Challenge women’s winners following a 1-0 triumph over Spurs Women Football Club at the Langa Stadium this past weekend.
RV United swept numerous accolades at the prestigious event, including the defender of the tournament and coach of the tournament awards.
Captain and defender of the tournament, Unathi Simayile, 20, said before the competition started they were nervous as they had some of the youngest players.
“We told ourselves we want to win the tournament and we did just that,” she said.
A former New Eisleben High School pupil, Simayile, has been a Western Province footballer since under-13. After sweeping the defender of the tournament award, her ambition is to make the Banyana Banyana team and play in the USA.
“We have to represent RV. We have to be resilient, victorious and united. When we are down, we lift each other back up. Ndonwabile (I am so happy), I am out of words. We now have to prepare for Johannesburg. They have bigger teams, so I know we will do our best to get to the finals,” said Simayile.
Coach Vuyo Kayi was awarded the coach of the tournament after leading his outfits to Engen Knockout glory.
Kayi said his team started off slow in the competition with a draw against Hotspurs Ladies. They relaxed, played their game and found their ‘mojo’, he said.
“The team performed so well in the tournament. We didn’t have the best start. We drew our first game. But after that draw we played about five games in three days and made it into the finals. It wasn’t easy but we did it,” he said.
Kayi said Simayile has been a good example to her teammates. And, with her moving on next season, they will learn from her leadership on and off the field.
“Unathi has very great potential in football. Since she started playing soccer she has been called up into the provincial team. After this she will hopefully get the recognition she deserves and get called up to the national team,” he said.
A couple of years ago, Simayile was called up to the national junior team, however, she was busy with Grade 12 exams.
Kayi, who is more than a coach but a guide for the team, said, after 10 years of hard work, his work has finally been rewarded.
“I felt great after receiving that award. The club, since I formed it in 2011, has had many challenges. We have produced players who have gone on to play in the USA and represent the national team. I spend most of my time motivating these girls to stay in football and to perform well in school. I get calls from their parents asking for assistance. So to get this reward, I am very grateful,” he said.
Ahead of the Engen Knockout Challenge regional tournament in Gauteng in two weeks time, the winning coach said their aim is to play, enjoy and learn more football.