By Andile Shawe
I am a young male who is passionate about sport, women’s football in particular, because it is one of the marginalised sports in our country even though in recent times things have changed. I believe more can be done to get it to the level of the men’s game hence I made it my personal project to help the game grow. In recent years I have helped organise some of the biggest women’s football tournaments in the country that have brought in teams from around the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. The tournaments I have helped organise are: Maimane Alfred Phiri Games(women’s tournament); JM Busha Women’s Tournament, and the Andisiwe Mcqoyi Women’s Tournament (Mamelodi Sundowns ladies player). Through this I have managed to meet and socialise with present and past players, coaches and administrators from across Africa.
I believe through seeing what our neighbours are doing helps one have a view of what is happening across the continent in terms of women’s football because some countries are quite progressive when it comes to the development of women’s football, and by learning we can also come back and implement certain aspects of what they are doing.
Before ACTIVATE! I used to coach women’s soccer in my community (Alexandra) but I also worked as a sports ground breaker at Love Life and skills coach at Grass Roots Soccer. I was, in both these roles, teaching young people how to lead healthy life styles through sport.
I was then fortunate enough to get a job at the Department of Social Development as an EPWP under the targeted beneficiary unit (Youth Unit) while doing an Activate activity (Making Local Government Work) and I can say my journey working through local government has opened my eyes to a lot of challenges faced by the youth in not only my community, but across the region. During this time I was requested to be a facilitator at the national youth camp hosted by the Department of Sports, Arts, and Recreation. I was further fortunate enough to be a youth capital influencer in 2020 and that also opened up more opportunities for me to connect with like-minded youth that also have the same vision in helping other youth achieve their goals through various programmes.
I still do my work in women’s football by helping the young ladies get teams where they can get paid for doing what they love because it is something I am passionate about. To date I have helped 4 young ladies get contracts in Eswatini with a team called Manzini Wanderers Ladies – a team that will be participating in this year’s CAF women’s champions league qualifiers. However, my bigger dream is to get players abroad (such as in the USA) so they can further their education and do sport because I believe holistic players have a better chance of getting employment on and off the field. Moreover, I run workshops with potential players which help them with their journey in the sports industry because there are different careers that one can pursue even after playing soccer.