RV United junior coach Sakhumzi Nofili can afford to give himself and the club’s under-8 and under-10 sides a pat on the back following an impressive performance at the weekend’s She-Bobo girls’ soccer festival at UWC.
The festival, the first of its kind in Cape Town, featured 280 junior players representing 12 community clubs from across the city.
It presented an ideal opportunity for the little ones to display their skill – and for young coaches to sprout a few unwanted grey hairs.
Teams from Bellville to Blikkiesdorp and Salt River to Southfield took to the field, but ultimately it was Khayelitsha’s RV United who won the under-10 division and Gugulethu’s Cape Town Roses the under-8 section.
Saturday’s action kick-started the launch of a league catering for young girls.
And, with Nofili and other coaches barking instructions from the sidelines, some of their charges did their own thing, often to good effect, while others moved the ball around with the deft touch of a more experienced player.
Nofili said they faced a number of challenges in preparing their squad for the festival and had to train on a gravel patch as the artificial pitch they normally use was vandalised, which made being crowned inaugural champions even more special.
“It is important to give young girls an opportunity to play football, because we want to develop and see growth in women’s football. Each and every year women’s football is developing, girls are getting more interested in the game. I think the organisers came up with a brilliant idea of introducing the girls’ festival. It is helping us as clubs to lay a foundation so we can develop them through the youth ranks till the senior team level. Now under-8s and 10s girls have a platform to showcase their talent and enjoyment of football,” he said.
“I was so happy our under-10s won because it shows we didn’t give up even though we didn’t have a proper field.”
Midfielder Babalwa Mteto, 24, from Nyanga, a member of UCT’s Coke Cup championship side that lifted the women’s winners’ trophy, at Athlone Stadium, a fortnight ago, took on a different role at the weekend, guiding Salt River Blackpool FC’s juniors through their paces.
Although primarily focused on her own game, she’s also been making moves to improve her coaching credentials.
“After speaking to coach Ahmed Parker, I was able to study and attend workshops that equipped me to be a qualified coach,” she said.
“It’s important that opportunities are created for young girls because an opportunity was created for me and it helped me to get out of the environment I grew up in,” she said.
Saturday’s event was all about the kids and they enjoyed themselves, which was very good,” she said.
Delft’s Mighty City FC mentor Phumzile Bika said it’s not uncommon for club members to walk all the way to Gugulethu to play soccer as fields in the neighbourhood are not in a good state.
“We want nothing more than to have a good future for your children, that’s why we do what we do, even if it means walking all the way,” he said.
UWC Media Media and Marketing manager and league coordinator, Gasant Abader, said Saturday’s event exceeded all expectations.
- Cape Community Newspapers, publishers of Vukani, is the print media partner of She-Bobo at UWC.