SAFA’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Thulani Ngwenya has been invited to a ground-breaking CAF 5th Medical Congress to run from 14-16 October in the Egyptian capital of Cairo.
The three-day Congress will touch on critical matters of doping, injuries and nutrition as well as cardiac arrest, gender verification and age determination of the u17 category.
The Congress will also delve on the management of football during pandemic outbreaks such as Ebola.
“These are some of the various topics that will be dissected at the Congress. It is a critical seminar which will take Africa’s professionalism to the next level,” said Dr Ngwenya, the first full time FA Medical Officer on the continent.
Born and bred in Nelspruit’s bustling township of Kanyamazane, Dr Ngwenya said if Africa was to get at par with some of the world football powerhouses, the issue of having fulltime medical officers was a must.
“Sports medicine is a relatively new area especially on the continent but this is one direction Africa has to take if they are to be at par with Europe and some of the best football nations on the globe.
At times players get injured and are not properly diagnosed meaning they won’t heal properly; matters of doping and cardiac arrest are among matters that need to be professionally attended to as well going forward,” said Dr Ngwenya.
A great football fan and player during his youth days, Dr Ngwenya said his coming into football was not by mistake and his goal was to leave behind a lasting legacy.
“This is my passion and I want to make a meaningful contribution because I grew up loving and playing this game. I could easily have been a professional football player but chose to pursue an academic career in medicine,” he said.
The 32-year old Doctor went to Vulamasango and Tenteleni Primary schools before he matriculated at Sitintile Secondary School. He enrolled for a BSC Biological Science degree at the University of Zululand and later attained an Honours degree in Environmental Management at the same institution.
He then did an MBCHB at the University of KZN before proceeding to the University of Pretoria where he attained a Masters Degree in Sport Management. He is currently busy finalising his research in dietary supplements in Elite athletes.
Dr Ngwenya who says his mentor is former Bafana Bafana doctor, Dr Ephraim Nematswarani began his association with SAFA in 2012 when he was called up to look after the girls u17 team, then moved to women u20 side, Banyana Banyana and ultimately rose to take care of Bafana Bafana.
“It has been a gradual movement within the Association’s various teams until I was appointed the SAFA Chief Medical Officer in 2015. I am pursuing what I love most and for this I want to thank SAFA for affording me such an opportunity,” added Dr Ngwenya who is a highly religious individual.