8 September 2022 – South African Football Association (SAFA) Chief Medical Officer Thulani Ngwenya will give the world a peek into his thoughts when he launches his book on Saturday 10 September 2022 at eMnotweni Arena in Mbombela, Mpumalanga.
Dr Ngwenya wanted to narrate his life’s work and this inspired him to share his thoughts in the book titled: Sports Medicine – My Love and Passion. Several guests from different fields have been invited to the launch and popular sportscaster Robert Marawa will host the event set to get underway at 18h00. Two student representatives from five KaNyamazane high schools will also be in attendance.
“My greatest inspiration about the book was to narrate my journey to where I am today. The journey on its own serves as an inspiration also to the young African child from a township to say it is possible. If Thulani could do it from the humble beginnings of KaNyamazane with very limited resources, then any person can do it,” he says.
“The book narrates the challenges that I had to face and how I overcame them. It also gives a clearer path of how to become a Sports Physician, of which I never had that opportunity of knowing the path. I had to navigate the route blindly and learning in the process. I then felt a strong desire of narrating my story to inspire a lot of people in their own career path. It is indeed possible as long as you set your goals and your priorities straight, and of course, top it up with discipline and focus.”
The book is a labour of love and Dr Ngwenya says he made numerous surprises and spent numerous sleepless nights while trying to put it together.
“I started putting together the contents of the book while I was in Cameroon for the Africa Cup of Nations in January. I was just typing the information daily between 04h00 am and 06h00 am,” he says. “It is the time when I am very productive and it took me about five months to put together the information before I started involving the editor at the end of May. Then it took about one month of back and forth between myself and the editor.
“Then there was another month of layout and printing in August. My family really supported me because honestly, I was taking two hours of family time, especially due to the fact that my day (between 08h00 – 20h00) belongs to the people (work) and my patients.”
Dr Ngwenya continued to travel around the world while putting the book together, juggling the demands of his job with recording his thoughts.
“I have been travelling with the national team, doing work with COSAFA, CAF and FIFA. I was at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham recently as the Chief Medical Officer of Team South Africa. It has been really hectic but I have been very disciplined in dedicating two hours a day (04h00 -06h00) to this project, and this has assisted me to achieve my goal of completing the book in just six months.”
The project is very personal to Dr Ngwenya and he considers it a blessing that his publisher also happens to be a person he has known for many years.
“I have a friend who owns a publishing company called inpassion. He is my friend and a former roommate at the University of Zululand. So he really assisted me and has been of great guidance throughout the process.”
The SAFA Chief Medical Officer hopes that people can take something from the book and they are inspired to achieve their own dreams and aspirations.
“The greatest desire and goal of the book is to reignite passion and inspire an African Child. I really hope the field of Sports & Exercise medicine will get a lot of people wanting to join it as a speciality. I strongly believe that a lot of our people, especially the Africans, are naturally talented and solely depend on natural talent plus technical support to compete at the highest level.” he continues.
“But throughout my 10 years of experience in the field of sports medicine, I have realised that if there is no scientific or sports science support which includes sports medicine, then we will not win the desired Gold medal as Africans. Just to make a typical example, when you look at other sporting codes doing well at the world stage and really investigate their secret, then you will actually see that they invest so much on scientific support to complement the natural talent and technical support.
“So if we are going to have more people specialising in the field of sports medicine and also getting support from the principals and corporates, then I strongly believe we can achieve the desired goal of winning Gold at the world stage.”
Looking ahead to the big day on Saturday, Dr Ngwenya says a lot is planned for the event in Mpumalanga.
“I am very excited about this one. As the Dr Thulani Ngwenya Foundation we have collaborated with SAFA Ehlanzeni to put together a D-lisense coaching course that started on 2 September and ran until 9 September 2022 at Mbombela Stadium.
“On 10 September 2022 in the morning between 09h00 to 15h00, we will be having a Schools football tournament which will be taking place at KaNyamazane Stadium. We have invited scouts from the top teams in the Premier Soccer League to come and search for talent. We are hoping two or three players will earn an invitation to trial with a professional team.
“I must state that this will also serve as the official launch for the school football league that will be starting next year. During this tournament I will also be working as the tournament Doctor and will have eight learners shadowing me. This is a way of supporting the SAFA Schools Football vision.”