Professional league gives Coal City Wizards coach hope.
The promise of a professional women’s league is giving Coal City Wizards owner and coach, Mabu Moroaswi renewed hope in South African women’s football. Moroaswi has been involved in the women’s game since 2000, first as a spectator but he has since graduated to run one of the most successful Sasol League teams in Mpumalanga. “I was introduced by my former coach. He used to invite me to watch games and I started falling in love with the female game,” he tells.
It’s no secret that women’s sport struggles to draw sponsorship to keep up the running of clubs, even rewarding players. Most of the time Moroaswi digs into his own pocket to ensure the team meets their league fixtures. Coal City have never used a mini bus taxi to travel to their matches, Moroaswi and team manager, Bongi Mahlangu, use their cars and that of players to travel to their games. “Financially, its very challenging. The money we are getting is not enough, considering the money we spend as owners. We don’t have a professional league, when we go out to look for sponsors, there’s one question they ask, what are they going to benefit, then we don’t have answers,” he explains.
Moroaswi hopes the selection criteria for national teams will also improve. He believes he has players who can make a difference in the national teams but national selectors only attend the national playoffs and miss the bulk of players throughout the season. Elson Matjila, Thabisile Thaga and Nelisiwe Mchunu are the only players that have represented the country, however, Matjila and Thaga haven’t been in the team since former coach Joseph Mkhonza’s tenure. While Mchunu only attended a few camps under Dutch mentor, Vera Pauw.
Coal City is based in the Nkangala region of the province with players from Middelburg, Witbank, some parts of Gauteng, North West and Limpopo. The team started off as Witbank Ladies and it was later changed to Coal City after the board decided to rename it. Moroaswi said in order to compete against the better resourced Gauteng clubs such as Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies, he has had to recruit players from anywhere and everywhere. Being a step ahead of other teams will be vital in making an impression at national level. The three times provincial championships are on the verge of representing Mpumalanga for the fourth time in the Sasol League National Championships in December. “It’s going to be challenging with the one match remaining, we need to win it. The plan is to win the cup but if we can’t, we should at least be in the final. We have a team that can compete this year, the only thing that can let us down, can be the preparations. We want to win it, let’s hope we won’t disappoint the province,” he said.
Coal City Wizards in full song as they arrive for their match at last year’s Sasol League National Championships in Mossel Bay, Wesern Cape.
Elson Matjila, Thabisile Thaga and Nhlanhla Mtsweni catching up in between warm up.
Coach Mabu Moroaswi and team manager Bongi Mahlangu discussing how they would tackle next game.