13 August 2019 – Formed almost two decades ago, Croesus Ladies Football Club has come a mighty long way since their initial years in the crime-infested Hillbrow area and are now firmly challenging for a coveted Sasol League title in the Gauteng Edition of the competition.
Hailing from a true footballing hub in the Ekurhuleni region and belonging to the Benoni Local Football Association (LFA), the club have built a strong team of young girls who have struggled in their personal lives and use football as a means to greater pastures.
Sitting comfortably in second spot with 47 points from 19 completed matches including just two losses, the team are on a hot streak.
SAFA.net had a chat with the seasoned manager and co-owner Maria Athanasouli who shared some interesting viewpoints on the current season, team dynamics, the special set of young ladies at her disposal and a message for their supporters.
“We started badly as we had a coach with no experience. We then decided to restructure the coaching staff and it is paying off. Kanyisa Barnes (fitness), goalkeeping guru and former Banyana star Philadelphia ‘TK’ Mndaweni (pictured, left), captain and positioning advisor Katrina ‘Kat’ Maguire (pictured, right) and co –owner Edison Mbatha (technical), have pushed the girls and it is working out well. They are gelling,” said the manager.
She added that the players aren’t in a healthy situation financially but they turn out week in and week out for the love of the game and to hone their skills.
“Most of our players are poor but are super talented. Our goal is to win the title, play in the national league and go on to play in the various national teams. Not for shiny trophies but for deserving salaries and the improvement of lives in general. Our girls don’t have matric and live on their taxi money but always want to play and compete,” added Athanasouli.
This family environment has ignited the girls to truly showcase and strut their stuff on the pitch.
“We have been doing well lately. It warms my heart and brings tears to my eyes. The likes of striker Zandile Mxasa, winger Lerato Ruele, left back Samaria Gaba and midfielder Mokgadi Seanego (pictured) are just few of the names that I predict have great futures ahead. Every single girl has something special. They are not just fast but can read the game, have the proper technique, ball control and more,” she said.
She also had a quick message for club supporters.
“Women need to support women. We have thousands of fans across social media and even among other teams, who always wish us well. We are grateful for any support and we cannot thank them enough. Hopefully one day we can make you proud with titles and even form a relationship with the likes of the United States or the UK,” concluded the co-owner.
With a wonderful team ethos, family values and never-say-die attitude, the sky is most certainly the limit for this inspirational Gauteng team.