4 May 2021 – Lina Tshabalala, head coach and part owner of De Jaguars FC in the Sasol League, is confident that the rough patch they are going through will soon be overcome.
In only their second season, they are at the bottom of the table in their eight-team stream in the Free State.
De Jaguars FC have played three matches – no win, no draw. They have conceded a massive 38 goals, and scored only three in the process.
But Tshabalala is not fazed, saying that this too shall pass.
“These challenges are only happening now at the beginning of the season, but we will turn things around soon and once we gain momentum, we could be challenging for the title too,” said Ms Tshabalala.
“After being sidelined by Covid-19 for the whole of 2020, our players are not attending matches as regularly as they used to in 2019, but we are working on the problem and it will soon be sorted. For now we are not even worried despite having lost all our three matches and let in so many goals. We will get through this.”
Owned by her husband Jan, the club is named after one of the largest cat species in the Americas and third largest in the world.
It was formed in 2017 and they are from the Makholokweng Village near Harrismith. The main aim was to help the girl child find something else to do.
“We just wanted to assist the girls to be involved in some kind of sport, and because I played football in my youth I thought it would be better we form a ladies club. We were initially in the LFA League, then bought a status in the Sasol League, where we played for the first time in 2019 and enjoyed every minute of it,” added Lina Tshabalala.
She says that they are appeciative of what Sasol is doing for women’s football.
“The truth is that Sasol has done so much for young woman in this game. Where would they be today if it wasn’t for Sasol. I will repeat what everyone has been saying – all the top women players in this country went through the Sasol League, a clear indication of how crucial their involvement is in this game we love so much. For starters, they give us playing kit twice a season – and that alleviates a lot of the financial burden carried by all the teams.”
De Jaguars’ position in the league is way different from their aspirations.
“Yes, for now we are bottom of the table, but that is not where we will end. One of our goals is to prepare the team for the national teams as well as the SAFA National Women’s League. And I have a strong belief that someday I will see some of our players joining overseas teams – all thanks to the path created by Sasol through the Sasol League,” said Lina Tshabalala.
“I can safely say I can see my dream becoming a reality soon because I have a lot of faith and hope.
In their previous match, De Jaguars lost 13 – 1 to Ace Milan FC.
Captained by Nthabiseng Moloi, who is assisted by Mapalo Rankobo (also known as Tso), their next assignment is against newcomers in the league, TT Kay FC from Kroonstad.
The match will be played on Saturday, 15 May 2021.
“This could be a chance for us to redeem ourselves. This could be the match to turn things around for us. They are just one spot ahead of us on the league table, with just one point, so I believe they are there for the taking. We are going to use this match to start our climb to the top,” concluded Lina Tshabalala.
The jaguar (Panthera onca) is a large felid species and the only living member of the genus Panthera native to the Americas. Its distinctively marked coat features pale yellow to tan colored fur covered by spots that transition to darker rosettes on the sides. With a body length of up to 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in), it is the largest cat species in the Americas and the third largest in the world. Its powerful bite allows it to pierce the carapaces of turtles and tortoises, and to employ an unusual killing method: it bites directly through the skull of mammalian prey between the ears to deliver a fatal blow to the brain – Wikipedia