Cape Town Roses Concentrating On Developing Girl Footballers By Cheryl Roberts

12 Jun

They’re not only one of South Africa’s top women’s football competitive teams, they are also South Africa’s leading team for developing girl football players into a championship winning team. They are Guguletu-based Cape Town Roses; a women’s football team founded by, held together by and coached by primary school teacher Mr Madikane.

Cape Town Roses have won the Western Cape women’s football league 7 out of 8 years. The year they lost it was in 2016 when they finished one point behind and second to winners UWC. They also won in 2014, the national playoffs women’s football competition, hosted by SAFA and reached the finals of that national event, several times, the latest being in 2017. And this was done with several schoolgirl footballers in the team.

When the Western Cape women’s football league finally kicks off this weekend, primarily in Cape Town and surrounding areas, Cape Town Roses will field one of its youngest teams ever fielded in the league. The youngest will be 11 year old Inga Sam Sam, whose 13 year old sister Lithemba has already scored significant goals for Cape Town Roses.

Out of this championship winning team of 2017, coach Madikane has many of last season’s team players but several players who made pivotal contributions to the league and knockout wins have taken transfers for various reasons such as Ode Fulutudilu’s pro contract in Finland, Sisanda Vukapi’s university club affiliation, transfers to other cities and clubs like Unathi Booi, Roxanne Barker, Lelona Dewati. Coach Madikane didn’t try to keep any player at the club and immediately issued their transfer when requested.

But with the void left in the club by the team’s championship winning players, coach Madikane wasn’t distressed. Neither did he panic. He had many pre teen girl footballers in his development wing waiting for an opportunity to be in the senior team. ‘I saw it as another opportunity for the girl footballers to develop in the team, to get long game time, to feel comfortable and happy in the team and for this young team to enjoy their women’s football,’ says coach Madikane, who didn’t respond by inviting players from other clubs to join his team, like that done by other coaches who don’t develop players but poach and lure players from teams doing development.

‘As defending champions, don’t you want to win the league this year?’ I ask coach Madikane. ‘We’ve won the league 7 times out of 8 seasons. I’m giving other teams and coaches a chance to win the league this year. But I’m not saying I’ve just given up……’ smiles coach Madikane as he responds.

Despite Cape Town Roses not having signed any senior players to replace those who have gone onto other teams, there’s still a confident mood prevailing amongst the girl footballers with about 20 of them registered this year to play women’s football, all being schoolgirls. The 17 year old Cesane twin girl footballers, after a two year stint at SAFA’s high performance school in Gauteng are back at the club, this season and will play influential roles as senior and experienced players although they are still girl footballers.

But then again Cape Town Roses has always been about schoolgirl footballers, with most of them coming out of coach Madikane’s primary school. And they have developed within the team and developed the team to become Western Cape champions and one of South Africa’s top three women’s football teams.

Sadly, this rich talent at Cape Town Roses has been overlooked for senior women’s national selection and representation over the years, despite Cape Town Roses showing their prowess and winning titles. This marginalisation of Cape Town Roses players who deserve national selection baffles coach Madikane. ‘I fail to understand why national selectors and coaches ignore players from Cape Town Roses. Over the years, the team and players have proven themselves as a winning team of talented, quality players but national selectors have ignored this talent’, says coach Madikane.

Look at the 2017 season when Cape Town Roses should have had 5 teenage girls in the SA under 20 women’s football team. But they had just three. And then one of the Western cape ‘s leading goal scorers in 2017, Sisanda Vukapi went on to be top goal scorer at the national playoffs, yet didn’t get national under 20 selection. Coach Madikane has had to watch other players getting selected whilst his quality championship winning players got ignored.  Coach Madikane is the Western cape’s most successful women’s football coaches in the past 8 years and one of SA’s top women’s football coaches. But he has been ignored and overlooked for a national coaching position. Not that he’s bothered or crying about not being a national coach. He smiles and says ‘I have proven my coaching credentials. Its other coaches who must prove themselves, including those who have been appointed national coaches in women’s football’

Although he gets disappointed when he sees that deserving players from Cape Town Roses don’t get under 20 and Banyana Banyana selection, coach Madikane says ‘Cape Town Roses have shown their quality. We have won 7 out of 8 leagues, several knock out cups in Cape Town and played in many national play off finals. The team turned raw talent into quality and did something worthwhile with the quality, talented players. What must else must we prove?’

Defending Western Cape league champions Cape Town Roses kick off their delayed 2018 season with a home match in Guguletu on Sunday against Santos. The girl footballers have been at training, diligently going through the training schedule prescribed by coach Madikane. They have also enjoyed pre-season training on the sandy ground at an under-resourced school in Guguletu. Now they are ready to play the competitive matches in the big league against the big people and see how they develop. Knowing their prowess over the years, no team will take Cape Town Roses lightly or assume them as a walkover team. Every team playing against the youngest team in the league will have to work hard for their goals and their points because the girl footballers know the winning tradition of the team and the players that came before them. The only standards known to Cape Town Roses is to score goals and win matches and championships.

Meanwhile, coach Madikane says he’s going to enjoy the season watching the girl footballers enjoying participation in the women’s football league. And he’s going to delight in their improvement, development and happiness on the field as girl footballers.IMG_1982

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