7 June 2019 – Formed in 2001, Eastern Cape Sasol League’s Birmingham City FC have overcome challenge after challenge and are still making their mark in South African women’s football.

Currently sitting atop of the log in the coastal stream and plying their trade from the Buffalo City region (Gompo LFA), the team are hoping to improve on their valiant third placing last season and go on to win the stream as well as come out top in the province itself.

Current chairman Mr Vusi Khumalo, who also runs the men’s ABC Motsepe League team of the same name, was on the verge of giving up on the club due to various challenges. safa.net had a rare chance of catching up with the big boss to get his views on the overall story of the team, how he overcame certain obstacles and where they are headed.

“I have always had a love for this club. My daughter was playing for the team and they desperately needed support. I decided to invest in the team financially and have never looked back. I have been chairman since 2008 and still support the team with my own money and my property business,” he said.

Chatting about the current set-up, things were never simple and straight-forward for the former champions.

“Last season I registered up to 18 players but some had to leave us due to school commitments among other reasons. This season managed to get that figure up to 27, of which 18 are outside of East London. We held trials and had a great turnout. Players came in all the way from King Williams Town and various rural villages.”

Khumalo also talked about the effect of the dual-stream system implemented this season but remains upbeat.

“Look, it has its pros and cons. Obviously one stream is ideal but I understand why they split us. If you play in one stream you need a good sponsor, which none of us do. That helps with all the travelling among other costs. Also, with that system you play every week, unlike now where we have games every three weeks, which is a huge challenge. This structure is also far more competitive. However, this system does help us save costs, which we will take as a positive,” said Khumalo.

The chairman also stated that his aim is to compete in the national championships but needs to be commended for his thorough commitment to the team and personal investment.

“There is a lot of costs involved but I love this club and try my best. One away match costs up to R14000 and that is just for the female team. Things get tough but the girls always encourage me and keep me going,” said the boss.

The inspirational figure had one final thought to share with readers.

“A big goal should be to educate fans more about the sport and women’s football. We need to create more marketing material and adverts to attract fans to the stadiums and get more people involved,” concluded Khumalo.

With titanic figures such as Khumalo in the system, there can be little doubt that City are a team who will never back down or give up.

The team are next in action at their Duncan Village Sports Ground against the University of Fort Hare FC on Saturday, 15 June at 15h00.

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