15 August 2019 – The South African Football Association’s (SAFA) Sasol League is South Africa’s premier women’s football league, established in 2009 to develop the ladies game with approximately 4000 footballers competing on a regular basis.
One of the more exciting streams over the years has undoubtedly been in the Free State with the Stream A edition proving to be competitive, unpredictable and an overall well-run edition.
This season has proved to be no different in a new two-stream system, with both dishing out high-octane action week in and week out.
Stream A has heated up nicely with the impressive Ixias FC leading the pack. However, hot on their heels are none other than the inspirational Grassland Ladies FC, who soldier on each and every day in spite of numerous challenges.
Ixias are six wins from six for a grand total of 18 points while Grassland is a mere three points behind after the same amount of matches.
Belonging to the marquee Bloemfontein Local Football Association (LFA) in the large Mangaung Metro region, the team do not even have a place to train but keep on producing the goods on the pitch.
SAFA.net spoke to club owner and coach Mr Shakes Magwete who shared some interesting information on the club in an intimate interview.
“The bottom line is that we have little to no resources. We don’t even have a training ground due to gang disruptions. It can be very challenging but we keep pushing. The girls meet on the day of a game and we simply play. I fund their travel costs and they arrive via bus,” he said.
In spite of the tough times, the girls never fail to display their talent. Players come from small surrounding towns such as Brandfort, Soutpan and Dewetsdorp. With a pool of around 40 young ladies, the numbers are most certainly there and things are starting to take shape.
“We started by recruiting U16 girls and playing friendly matches in the Northern Cape and took it from there. The way they are playing now is excellent. They work hard and on our day no other team can beat us,” said Magwete.
The owner also stated that winning the stream isn’t even on his radar and he simply wants to compete and allow the girls to gain some much-needed experience. He did however have a few sentiments on the women’s game itself.
“The ladies game is tough but there is most certainly a light at the end of the tunnel. We need to accept female players the way they are. Each of them has to start somewhere and be given the tools required to progress,” added Magwete.
In conclusion, the coach had a quick message for the long-serving supporters of the club.
“A huge thank you to all the fans and supporters of the team. Please keep on backing us and attending games. We are trying our best to make you proud,” concluded Magwete.
The passionate owner, laments the fact that many of his girls get national trial call-ups but eventually this falls flat due to a lack of identity and passport documents due to most girls not having any parents and proper upbringings.
With immense success in spite of the most difficult of circumstances, the owner and club in general must be doing something right and are proving to be a true people’s team. Also serving as a teacher at CommTech Comprehensive School with a Diploma in Sports Management, Magwete certainly has a way with youngsters and a knack for spotting talent.
SAFA.net wishes them the best in their future endeavours.
The team next take on third placed Simunye Ladies on Saturday, 17 August at Clive Solomon Stadium at 11h00.