Blue Birds to fly to the top of women’s football
For most women football players to succeed in South Africa, they need to have a solid career outside of the sport. While they live in hope for the long-promised professional women’s football league to kick off, those who can afford it continue their tertiary education. But for those that can’t, Malvin Khumalo founded The Bluebirds Academy to give girls from underprivileged backgrounds the chance to earn scholarships through football. The Alexandra based Academy has as its ambition to be the best women’s football team in the Gauteng province.
“The dream was to create a platform for the girls in the township to achieve their dreams through soccer, to get bursaries to study, even abroad. Our major vision was to get some of the players to get into the national teams. We have been doing well on that front. Nine of our players have been selected for the different national teams. We are in line with what we have been planning. We want to be a benchmark of women’s football in South African by 2020,” says Khumalo.
Asa Rabalao, Morongwa Manamela, Deveney Rhoda, Gugu Pitso and Tshidi Muroa are some of the players who have represented South Africa. Birds have players from Under-10 to the Under-17s. Their development teams plays in the regional league while the seniors compete in the Sasol League.
Birds attract interest from teams from outside of the country for friendlies, this year, they have played USA’s Franklin & Marshall College, Zimbabwe’s Lily Queens, Swaziland’s Young Buffaloes and the Swazi senior national team.
In pursuing their dream to be the best in Gauteng, Khumalo has even roped in players who are from outside of the province. However, since sponsors are thin in women’s football, sometimes Khumalo has to dip into his own pocket to sustain the club.