11, going on professional

2015-06-09 06:00
Nabeelah Galant (11) fondly remembers how she came to play the sport she loves in the park next to her home in Rocklands. The passionate soccer player hopes to inspire others to follow their dreams too.   

SAmantha Lee

Nabeelah Galant (11) fondly remembers how she came to play the sport she loves in the park next to her home in Rocklands. The passionate soccer player hopes to inspire others to follow their dreams too. PHOTO: SAmantha Lee

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At just 11 years old she is already playing in the big league, kicking the soccer ball against grown women.

And with her dreams already coming true, Nabeelah Galant is setting even bigger ones for her bright future in sport.

The passionate soccer player from Rocklands has been playing competitively for the past two years but started playing in the park next to her house when she was just two.

“My father played sports and one day he taught me how to kick the ball in the park. Since then I liked playing the game,” she says.

“She is a natural,” says Riedewaan, her father.

Riedewaan also played soccer and did athletics in his younger days. The two now train together every week.

Nabeelah’s mother Fazlin says she is her father’s superstar.

“Sometimes he does not even make time for me. She is his focus. Of all the coaches she has, he is one of her best motivators,” she says.

Riedewaan explains that he does not push her too hard, working on scheduled training. “We did squats and weights the one day so the next we just took a jog,” he says.

Nabeelah also does athletics and swimming for various clubs.

The busy sports fanatic juggles a hectic training schedule but does not forget her schoolwork.

Her mother says she does not know where she finds the time as she will soon join the athletics team of her primary school.

“Education is important and Nabeelah knows that,” says her mother.

The Santos player has high hopes for a long career in sport. However, Fazlin says, Nabeelah knows the rules.

“I have very strict rules for Nabeelah and she knows it is education first. She says she wants to be on the soccer field so I told her to study into a soccer field,” says Fazlin.

Nabeelah is not sure where her education will lead her yet but she has high hopes for the future. “I want to play for Manchester United one day,” she says with a shy giggle.

Although she supports the team she still hopes to see herself wearing national colours in the next five years.

Fazlin says she is such an inspiration for the community.

“Everywhere we go people tell us how inspired they are by her,” she says.

The little go-getter started her own sporting career when she approached the local soccer club to join about two years ago.

She played with the boys and when the opportunity rose to play for a local women’s team she jumped at the chance to show what she’s got.

Fazlin and Riedewaan agree that support is very important.

“We support her and we spend time with her at the soccer field whenever she has a match. This is what she wants to do and we will be behind her every step of the way,” Fazlin says.

Fazlin says they juggle a busy schedule, ensuring both their children’s hobbies are seen to, but they would not change it for the world.

“She is 11 and already playing with grown women,” Fazlin boasts, saying she has matured beyond her years.

Nabeelah wants to inspire others to follow their dreams.

“I want people to see that it is possible to be anything you want to be,” she says.

And from humble beginnings, kicking a ball around on a barren park, to an already impressive career in sport, there is no stopping now as she reaches for her dreams.


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