Women football coaches’ stars are rising

Anna Monate brought stability to UJ as they moved from 12th position to finish ninth in the Hollywoodbets Super League. Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images
Anna Monate brought stability to UJ as they moved from 12th position to finish ninth in the Hollywoodbets Super League. Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images


One of the highlights of the just-concluded Hollywoodbets Super League season was the chance to see the impressive woman coaching talent on show.

While football has long been considered a man’s sport in South Africa, this is slowly changing, though women coaches are still outnumbered by their male counterparts (only five in 14 teams) in the women’s top league in the country.

Nevertheless, women coaches made their mark in the league, as three of them finished in the top four.

READ: Juggling soccer careers and motherhood

Simphiwe Dludlu of Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), Thinasonke Mbuli of the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and Ciara Picco of JVW Girls Football Development staked their claims with second, third and fourth positions, respectively.

Ma-Indies coach Rhulani Mathebula and Anna Monate of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) rounded off the top 10 with eighth and ninth places, respectively.

According to Monate, who left TUT in August for UJ, the gender imbalance in coaching does not augur well for the industry.

She says that, despite the strides made, more needs to be done to promote women coaches, who are largely ignored.

“Although this is the case, I can’t fathom why women aren’t allowed to coach football at all levels," she said, adding:

We’re an extremely talented nation, like Brazil, we just need to work harder and focus on development. Our country has a wealth of talent, and the Hollywoodbets Super League will help us gauge our level.

Monate, who arrived at UJ when it was in 12th place, was able to rescue them and push them up to ninth position. She was unbeaten in all six of her first matches.

After Monate left TUT, Betty Maseko stepped in as an interim coach for three matches between August 22 and September 4, before Dludlu took over on September 18.

Dludlu won eight games, drew two and lost one, cementing her authority as one of the best women coaches in the country, with TUT finishing as runners-up to champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

READ: Winning Women | Dr Bha Ndungane-Tlakula: the curious doctor

The first time Ma-Indies coach Mathebula stepped into the dugout was on June 19, in a game played away against the Durban Ladies. It was a baptism of fire, as her début was a disaster, ending in a 5-1 loss.

Mathebula managed to earn 20 out of 58 possible points, despite her limited resources.

UWC’s Mbuli, who inherited the team in the 2019/20 season, helped them progress from sixth to third place this season.

With 16 goals conceded, UWC had the second-best defensive record in the league after Sundowns’ 14 goals.

Mbuli is also Banyana Banyana’s assistant coach.

With newcomer JVW making a splash in the league, Picco had a fairy tale start to the season, winning all three of her first matches. Her star-studded team also produced the top scorer in the league, Mpumi Nyandeni, who won 27 goals.


Delivering the 

news you need

+27 11 713 9001
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24


Read the digital editions of City Press here.
Read now
Voting Booth
According to a letter Health Minister Joe Phaahla sent to MECs, the country is ready to get rid of masks in public as a health protocol. Is it time to go maskless?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
About time
62% - 174 votes
38% - 108 votes