Campus Life

Low Morale in Women’s football

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A thrashing of 11-0 against Midrand Graduate Institute on Tuesday night at the Wits Rugby stadium

was not enough for the Wits University women’s soccer team to qualify for this year’s national club

championships.

The Wits University Women’s soccer team is ranked sixth in the University Sports South Africa

(USSA) league. They failed to reach one of the top four positions to qualify for play-offs in October.

Last year, they were one of the top three teams and went to the USSA National Club Championships.

“The team lacks upfront when it comes to finishing goals,” said Dennis Tshabalala, the team’s coach

for two years. Although the team does score a few goals, Tshabalala said, “We need a prolific

scorer.”

Compared to previous years, the team’s performance has declined. They are not as competitive

as they were in previous years, said team manager, Marcel Kutumela, 4th

Kutumela played for the team but took on the role as manager after a knee injury, which required

reconstruction surgery.

“The team morale is not on par,” she said. They use to compete “rigorously” against their

top competitors, University of Pretoria, University of Johannesburg and the Vaal University of

Technology. “This year they lost against those teams, which scored against us. Usually we would

play until a goalless draw.”

Kutumela said as a team, they should, “Build more character in ourselves, and have good team

spirit … [We] need to fight harder and train harder. And people need to be more confident in

themselves.”

She said the season was not good and they could perform better, and suggested support from

the university and students would help. She also suggested that the university could do more to

create platforms for exposure of the women’s team. Last year the team was featured in the Wits

Catalogue, “but that’s it,” she said.

It would make a difference if more students participated in soccer, because there would be more

players to choose from. This year, people didn’t attend practices and games because of studies,

“which is understandable,” said Kutumela.

Although pleased with the win over Midrand Graduate Institute, team captain, Linah Maphanga, 3rd

year BSc, said the team “lacked discipline and training”. Many times they had to play without a full

squad. She was pleased the team won, “it has been so long since we won,” she said.

Coach Tshabalala said the win was “okay”. “We could do more, but it was okay.”

He said the challenge the women’s team faced were the same for all women’s sport. “There is low

support”. If more people came to watch the games and cheer them on, then players would perform

at their best, he explained.

To help overcome challenges, he said women’s soccer should be developed at schools, so that when

players come to university, they can just work on “minor tactical issues”. If football at school level is

improved then at university the performance will be “super”.

Kutumela, who has been a female athlete for 12 years, said women have “something to prove …

especially with the physical aspect”.

She explained that women need to be stronger than their opposition, including males, to be

featured and promoted. They plan to promote themselves more in future so that more people will

join the team.

 

By Lameez Omarjee