Soccer lass follows her dreams

2018-10-30 06:02
PHOTO: phindile shoziSibongakonke Mzobe is the captain of her team Nyuswa Shining Stars.

PHOTO: phindile shoziSibongakonke Mzobe is the captain of her team Nyuswa Shining Stars.

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UPPER Highway lass Sibongakonke Mzobe has had a love for soccer since her early childhood days. By the time she could walk, she was kicking the ball around at home.

When the Kwantebeni Comprehensive High School pupil was 11, she was teased about her love for the sport and called a tomboy. However, this did not deter her from following her dreams and joining a club, and today at 13, she is the captain of her team Nyuswa Shining Stars.

Like many other female athletes, Sibongakonke has had to fight discrimination throughout her sporting career. She revealed that she was labelled a boy because that’s what her community associates the sport with — “soccer is for boys”, they think.

“I understood soccer at a very young age and that’s when I realised that it is something I would love to associate myself with. Even though soccer was being taken as a boy’s thing and not girls, I had to be strong-minded and follow what my heart told me, rather than believe that there are sports which are not meant for girls,” she said.

Sibongakonke said that when she started playing, people said that she was a boy but that never got to her because she knew that she had the skills to succeed.

“My sexuality has nothing to do with my love and passion for soccer. I have skills that some boys do not even have, so I don’t need people’s verification to know myself,” said the captain.

She said that she’s thankful to her idols, Caster Semenya, Portia Modise and Amanda Dlamini, for creating a path for them as girls to be able to showcase their talent and not worry what people say about them.

“They inspire me a lot and that’s why I always keep my head up, I never let it down even when the going gets tough,” she said.

Sibongakonke said her message to the youth out there is never listen to what people say about you because if you do, you will never do what you love. “Create a path for yourself and never let anyone drag you off it because you’re afraid of being mocked,” she said. “Always follow your dreams.”

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