South African women’s rugby captain Babalwa Latsha has made a name for herself by being the first woman to play professional rugby abroad. Latsha, who resides in Khayelitsha, has signed a contract with Spanish club Eibar. She left the country on Thursday 9 January. The former Western Province captain described her departure as a great achievement in her rugby career. “Playing abroad is everybody’s dream. And being the first woman from the country playing in Europe is history and can never be erased by anyone,” she said. Latsha, who plays as a prop, said that her departure gives hope to many young women particularly those from disadvantaged areas. “My job now is to put my country on the map and pave the way for other South African women who wish to play abroad. “I’m going there to build a platform for the future generation. My attitude and behaviour will show how South African players are,” she said adding that she is going to Spain to express herself. The former soccer player said she started playing rugby in 2014 at the University of Western Cape (UWC) while she was studying her Bachelor’s degree in law. “I grew up playing football for Goal Hunters FC in Khayelitsha. So, I played rugby by chance, because I was added into the squad to fill the numbers for the team to play in the Intervarsity Tournament which was held in Pretoria in 2014,” she said. She was one of the reserve players but then one of their players got injured and she had to replace the player and since then she never looked back. “That was my first time touching a rugby ball. I never played rugby before and my teammates supported and encouraged me to play,” she said adding that she joined the team because she wanted to tour. Latsha has been instrumental in the Springbok women’s team that played in the Women’s World Cup qualifying games last year. The World Cup will take place in New Zealand next year. She said she is playing for both the South Africa women’s sevens team and the Springboks. Latsha encouraged other athletes to balance sport with education so that they can have something to fall back on after retirement. “I always have great ambitions because when I was playing football I wanted to play for Banyana-Banyana. I always think ahead of what I’m doing,” she stated. Latsha stated that people must not allow their backgrounds to determine their destinations.