19 May 2021 – “Playing in the Sasol League is the best thing that could ever happen to these players, and even though we are still struggling to get positive results, we are proud of this opportunity we have been given to be part of this league.”
These are the words of Buti Sam Mongale, better known as BS Mongale.
He is the owner and coach of the Sasol League club We Can Ladies FC, based in the Setlagole Village, North West province.
Mongale says they are in a tight spot as they have been unable to register some of their players due to the delayed arrival of clearance certificate from other clubs.
The team is made up of only 16 inexperienced players, and this is taking its toll on everyone.
They have lost all five matches since the start of the league.
“No one wants to lose a match so it is really difficult – not just for me but for the players as well. But we have to soldier on, and hope things will get better. I have invested a lot in this team and it hurts to see such things. At some point I wanted to sell the status, but I felt my area cannot be without a team,” said Mongale.
“What is making matters worse is that I am working in Vereeniging (Gauteng), while the team is based in the Setlagole Village (North West). For now, I have left it in the care of someone, which is not an ideal situation because there are many challenges that sometimes need my intervention and I am not there.”
Mongale says they will fight to the end to ensure the club stays afloat.
“The person in charge of the club is doing the best he can. There was a point when I took all my money and used it on the team and it caused a lot of friction with my family, but that had to stop because it was not sustainable more so because I was also earning little where I used to work,” added Mongale.
We Can Ladies was promoted into the Sasol League in 2013.
Twice they finished in fourth position (2015 and 2016). The following year (2017) they dropped further into fifth position.
Their challenges started in 2018 when most of the players left the club and joined another team in Kraaipan, and a year later (2019) they were almost relegated.
Covid-19 was a blessing in disguise for the team, as they used 2020 as a year of reflection and recovery.
Now the league is back in full swing, but it seems not much has changed for the side.
“I have a lot of passion for women’s football, and I want to see this team move forward. I have a plan of how to run this club, but due to work commitments I am failing the girls,” said a sad Mongalo.
“The main aim was to ensure these players look forward to something in life, and who knows, maybe they could be spotted by national teams selectors someday so they could go and make names for themselves. But with the current situation, our mission looks like a pipedream. For now, I have not lived up to my intentions and it is hurting.”
When they were doing well, We Can Ladies produced players that are now campaigning in the new SAFA National Women’s League.
Musi Portia and Lebo Shawe are now on the books of Richmond Ladies, while Ellen Serapelo used to run out for Golden Ladies. Some players have even been selected for the provincial team.
“This shows that with sustained grounding, we can go far. Our aim is to take the girls off the streets and once they are settled in the team, reach the top level in the Sasol League, contest the Sasol League National Champs, play in the National League, produce players for the national teams and even take some abroad. That is a big ask, but it can be done,” said Mongalo.
He has not lost hope, and he says they will stage the greatest comeback.
“Look, it is a known fact that the Sasol League is doing wonders for the young girls, and we want to take this opportunity to thank them for this great gesture – it may seem insignificant to some but it really goes a long way in helping mold the future of these players. Sasol is playing a very important role, and we will forever be grateful,” added Mongalo.
“Yes, we are struggling now, but we will come back. We will not be relegated and I will make sure we improve. I have faith in these players – the more they play the better they will become, and before the first round is over we will be back on our feet.”
The coach says the team is his life.
“When I said wanted to sell this club, I regretted those words because I don’t think I would have survived without it – this club is my life. I have invested emotionally and I want to see it represent the province someday,” concluded Mongalo.
“We have a wonderful pitch in Setlagole that we use for our games and we will get over all the challenges we are facing. This team is our gift to help improve the lives of others, so we should keep on working towards that mission. Once again, thank you to Sasol League for this opportunity.”