Mthatha Express

Outstanding female sport activists honoured

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SAFA OR Tambo president, Sandile Nowalaza (right), handing over the certificate to Ayakha Gqoboka.              Photo:SUPPLIED
SAFA OR Tambo president, Sandile Nowalaza (right), handing over the certificate to Ayakha Gqoboka. Photo:SUPPLIED

THE South African Football Association (SAFA) OR Tambo recently honoured two women who played a pivotal role in sport development within the district.

The two women were long-serving OR Tambo SAFA administrator, Bukelwa Mhaga, and international coaching asset, Ayakha Gqoboka.

Both played a crucial role in sports development in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape.

Mhaga worked as SAFA administrator for 39 years and she retired in 2018.

SAFA OR Tambo president, Sandile Nowalaza, described Mhaga as one of the outstanding sports legends in South Africa, who dedicated her life to sports development.

“We never did anything for her but in 2020 we tried to do a farewell for Mhaga, but due to COVID-19, we were unable to do that.”

“Now we have decided to do something for her.

“For one, we gave her a certificate showing her work, and then we gave her a cheque of R20 000 and a top and tracksuit.”

“She always excelled in terms of administration. She fought against age and cheating in sport. She was a mentor and a parent to us,” said Nowalaza.

Talking about Gqoboka, Nowalaza said, “Firstly, Gqoboka is an international asset in terms of coaching. In 2014, she coached the u/19 football squad to Germany and came back with a gold medal.”

“In 2019, she led Eastern Cape u/17 to the national championships in Bloemfontein and she came back victorious with the gold medal. We didn’t appreciate her but are able to do something for her now.”

Nowalaza said women in sport needed to be supported and encouraged, as they play a big role in keeping children away from crime.

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