Basetsana head coach Elisabeth Migchelsen is very passionate about women’s football. She is also the assistant coach of Vera Pauw at Banyana Banyana. But she does not want the focus on her, but prefers to shift it to the players.

Basetsana head coach Elisabeth Migchelsen is very passionate about women’s football. She is also the assistant coach of Vera Pauw at Banyana Banyana. But she does not want the focus on her, but prefers to shift it to the players.

She will be leading the South African Women’s Under 20 National Team when they take on Zambia in a 2016 Papua New Guinea Women’s u20 FIFA World Cup qualifier on Sunday, 27 September 2015 at the Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka.

Kickoff is at 15h00.

SAFA Media sat down with her to check what makes her tick…

Matlhomola Morake: Banyana Banyana and Basetsana involved in crucial qualifiers, what can we expect?

Elisabeth Migchelsen: I don’t want to speak about Banyana Banyana. At the moment, my focus is with Basetsana and from next week will be with Banyana Banyana. The only thing the technical staff can do is to prepare as well as we can for Basetsana. We are here to do our best and educate the players on how to develop the team, and the individual in the team and also show how we want to win the games with a good strategy

MM: But it is a very important period for women’s football…

EM: Yes everyone is digging in – SAFA is trying to do the best to make it happen and that support from the Association is very important, which could help in our qualification. Football is a game and the game objective is winning, but to win we must not concede, which is our main aim on Sunday against Zambia so that we can return home with a positive result.

MM: How confident are you of success with Basetsana, if you take the last game against Botswana into consideration?

EM: The technical staff is confident to get a positive result on Sunday. When the players came in they had to refresh their minds to the team organisation as to how we want to play. That’s what we worked on over the last few days. We are now in the process of finalizing our strategy of how we can get a good result against Zambia.

MM: Personally, how would you feel if the team was to qualify for the World Cup?

EM: It would be fantastic for the team, South African women’s football and for SAFA. It is not about me. I am here because I want to have a positive contribution to the success of women’s football in South Africa. It is more important for these girls, for women in South Africa and for the country in general that we can achieve something. I am just a passenger passing by and that is part of football. In the meantime when you are here, you want to achieve as much as possible. The contribution you make is the best you can give as a coach to develop the players and the country that we can succeed.

MM: How do you find South Africa?

EM: Very different from what I am used to. Different to Europe and Australia where I worked before, but I need to adapt to the situation, learn the culture and the people. In general, the people are friendly, very warm and helpful. The weather is good, it is a very beautiful country and after a few months being here I am already settled.

MM: You are very passionate about the game, how did you find yourself in football?

EM: I started to play the game by myself when I was only four years old. My father and my brother, who were both goalkeepers, played professional football in the Netherlands and they inspired me to play seriously. By the time I was 12 joined a women’s team and ended up in the national team, where I played more or less a 100 caps. I was also captain. I played just over five years in the Bundesliga in Germany.

Then current Banyana Banyana head coach Vera Pauw came back to our Association (KNVB) as head coach of the senior women’s national team as well as the Technical Director for women’s football. She came up with a project where female players and former players ventured into coaching education. Vera started the process in the Netherlands, and we have already developed some women coaches, I am one of them from that project. That’s how I became a coach.

MM: And where did you start?

EM: I started coaching at our Association (KNVB) with the u12 up to u20. I also coached at a project similar to the HPC in South Africa. I am also an instructor and give coaching courses. I went to Australia for two years to coach in the professional Women’s-league (W-League) and I won the Championship with a very young squad.

MM: Very interesting…

EM: So why am I passionate? If you are in men’s football, they get an education and everybody wants to be involved in men’s football. For me it’s important to make the contribution in Women’s Football, because I never got the kind of education that is available these days.

So for me, it is important that the more qualified female coaches we have in South Africa and in the world in general, the better it is for women’s football, and that women get the chance to be at the podium like at the World Cup or African Games with women coaches at the helm. But it starts somewhere and that’s how it started with me – as I said, it was a project by Vera which has benefitted me immensely.

MM: You say you played in Germany….

EM: Yes I played for FFC Heike Rheine, and almost signed for Bayern Munich but my job and private situation prevented me from doing so.

MM: What would be the greatest achievement for you?

EM: First of all to qualify with both teams Banyana Banyana and Basetsana for the Olympic Games and the 2016 Women’s World Cup. My personal aim is to coach a senior national team and to go to the World Cup or the Olympic Games – which is always what all coaches are aiming for.

MM: And what would be fulfilling for you?

EM: I am very interested in the development of teams and individuals. If you see how the team is preparing then you can see some improvement. They enjoy the camp, they love the vibe, they understand the structure and they learn the way we speak about football and what we share with them in terms of the analysis of their game and about the opposition. They also come on board and try to talk the football language. It’s good for me that all around us, including the staff members, learn and grow in their various jobs, and that is why I am here – just to help where I can, and also to learn too because in life you can never stop learning. That makes me happy when we all get along, and that we all want to achieve the same goals. That for me is very important, and not for my personal aims – that’s not why I am here.

MM: You also have a finance background…

EM: I studied that subject and one of the sponsors from the Dutch Association was PWC, so they gave me a job, which I took as well as playing football for the National team. So from morning until 2pm I was sitting in the office hard at work doing accounting, and afternoon I went to the fields to train U20 girls, HPC Project and in the evening I do coaching education for the Association and helped also develop other coaches who had u12 to u14 teams.

The combination was actually awesome and worked wonders for all. For the last three years I have been working fulltime as a coach but I can do both. The accounting helps a great deal when I organise things because I am a perfectionist, even during my playing days I was a perfectionist and also in my private life – everything is done in order. Sometimes it helps you but it can also frustrate you on other occasions. I have a university degree in accounting and various high qualifications in coaching.

MM: And finally, when and where you born?

EM: I was born many years ago in Harderwyk, it is central east of the Netherlands and that is where I grew up before exploring the world.

MM: Thanks for you time coach….

EM: Thank you too.