As part of the 2019 COSAFA Women’s Championship, Sasol created an opportunity to honour three local Sasol League coaches in the Eastern Cape region namely; Niesie Daniels; Mzwandile Faas and Thandiwe Mboniswa. This formed part of Sasol’s Limitless Initiative which is aimed at celebrating individuals who are making a difference and contributing to the growth of women’s football in South Africa.
The handovers took place at both the senior and U-20 tournaments, in Nelson Mandela Bay from 31 July to 11 August 2019.
Niesie Daniels of the Golden Stars Sasol League team has been coaching since 2015. She started playing football at the age of 10 and retired at age 36 due to a fractured ankle. Although she could no longer play, Niesie found another way to express her passion for football, and that was through coaching.
“It’s a privilege for me to still work in the football space, after my injury I was so frustrated and I knew that I had to do something about my passion for football. I had to continue my journey and coaching gave me that opportunity to be Limitless and look beyond what I know. Being involved in the Sasol League has taught me so much, not only about the sport, but about passing on my skills, knowledge and being part of something bigger,” she said.
Highbury Ladies Sasol League coach Mzwandile Faas initially focussed on coaching girls at the Ebongweni Primary School. In 2001 he saw potential in women’s football and decided to introduce other schools to the sport. As his passion grew Mzwandile took it upon himself to coach and help players apply and play in leagues, thus getting teachers and parents involved in growing the sport.
“I’ve always been inspired by the standard of football in the FIFA Women’s World Cup and my dream is to see our players play on the same level. I believe that I’m part of a bigger vision in our country, which is to help develop the standard of women’s football. What inspires me to keep coaching is seeing players progress and the motivation they receive from playing,” he said.
A coach and a player herself, Thandiwe Mboniswa of Sophakama Sasol League team is proud of the players that her team has produced, such as Sibulele Holweni who is the former captain for the U-17 national team and also represented South Africa at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The team was formed by Michael Mathanzima who saw a need and opportunity to keep young people, especially girls, off the streets.
“As a player and coach, being part of the sport has opened my eyes to new opportunities and I’m grateful for the mentors I have. We face a lot of challenges in our community and it’s not easy being a coach but through football and the Sasol League players are able to better their lives and pursue their dreams, she said.”
Although football is still seen as a men’s game in other households and communities Thandiwe aims to change this perception.
“Some players are not supported by their families and are called names by people in their communities but that’s something we are working on. We truly have a strong team because despite all their challenges, they are strong, matured and even more hungry to play football. That is what I believe makes us Limitless,” she concluded
For more information on the Limitless initiative and to show your support, search #Limitless on Twitter or YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jMRZ_CJR3Y