5 July 2019 – The Sasol Women’s league is taking shape across the nation, particularly in the Eastern Cape region.

The inland stream is proving to be the most interesting with Ayakha Stars FC and Red Roses Ladies FC locked in a tense battle for top spot.

Safa.net had the opportunity to catch up with club founder and chairman Mr Sibusiso Mantshongana (who also takes on the roles of coach and manager), as he spoke about the multiple challenges of running a women’s football team.

Formed in 2006 and belonging to the competitive Alfred Nzo region while playing their home games at the Mount Frere Stadium, the team have been impressive thus far with 10 points from five completed games.

Providing some insight into the start of the season, Mr Mantshongana offered objective viewpoints on the Mzimvubu LFA club.

“We are trying our best. We have had a good start but it can be very hard to maintain. The depth of the Eastern Cape province takes its toll on you,” he said.

The chairman elaborated on the above statement.

“It is extremely difficult in terms of transportation and the long distances between cities and towns. Some of our players are form Queenstown which is 300km away and we rely on them to train on their own. This means that availability of players takes a hit. Sometimes we take the pitch with only 8 or 9 players but still push on,” said the coach.

The club owner stated that his aim is to try and win the stream but with the daily challenges that the team faces, he is not looking too far ahead.

“We implore the municipality to come on board and assist us with bus transport at the very least. We would be very appreciative. We currently hire taxis which can cost up to R4000 at a time. Luckily the streams are split now and that does help a bit. Although, three of our players come from East London and bringing them here costs up to R1400.”

Help from local municipalities or a sponsor would also assist in terms of taking a few fans and supporters to the away games. Currently some fans can’t even make it to home matches.

The coach also offered a comment on the MYSAFA registration system that is taking local football by storm.

“It is really good system and very user-friendly. It helps you track all the right people and there is no more cheating. I am very impressed,” concluded Mantshongana.

In spite of all the setbacks though, the team and owner manage to find the resolve to keep fighting and work even harder, proving to be an inspirational outfit for others to look up to.

The team will travel 200km to take on Amanqilo Birds at Zhugxwala Ground this Saturday, 6 July at 15h00.

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