Ntombifuthi Khumalo: KZN’s Top Woman Football Coach Loves Coaching Football By Cheryl Roberts

18 Jun

 

36986913-4361-43C9-B814-5F0236EF3ACB Ntombifuthi Khumalo doesn’t yet have a B license football coaching certificate but she has already won the KZN Sasol League – a women’s football championship few women coaches have won around South Africa – and taken Durban Ladies to the finals of the National Playoffs. Sadly, when she applied to SAFA national to do the B license certificate, specifically designated for women football coaches, Ntombifuthi Khumalo wasn’t accepted. But she didn’t let the rejection get her down nor depress her. She carried on with her community coaching programmes. Then she got asked to coach Durban Ladies. And what did she do? She won the KZN Sasol League and went to the finals of the national playoffs, despite not being a B license coach. She has achieved more than some women football coaches who got funded by SAFA to do higher level coaching certificates. In this Q and A interview with ‘South African SportsWoman’ publisher Cheryl Roberts we get to know about Ntombifuthi Khumalo’s love and passion for coaching football.

Q: Coach Ntombifuthi, how did you become a football coach?
Ntombifuthi Khumalo: I started as a football player and then one day I got appointed as caretaker coach in 2008. The person who was motivating me to step into coaching was Bheki Hadebe. He was the coach of Maritzburg City Ladies. Then my SAFA Region, SAFA uMgungundlovu appointed me in 2009 as the under 15 selector. Then, Zakes Gwala who was REO of uMgungundlovu region motivated me to do a SAFA coaching course and from there I became a certified coach.

Q: Where did you start playing football in KZN? Which clubs did you play for?
Ntombifuthi Khumalo: My brother was the one who used to teach me how to kick a ball. Then at age of 9 years, I started to play with boys in my area. We ended up forming a team, playing friendly games with other boys around the area. At age of 14 I started to play with a girls team called NTB stars. After a year, after they formed, the team was called UMsunduzi(the crocodiles). That time our region was called Natal Midlands. The league was called Sanlam. After that, I joined Maritzburg City Ladies, playing in the Vodacom league. I retired as a player in 2008 when I was still playing for Maritzburg City. At that time the women’s league was called Sasol League.

Q: What do you enjoy about coaching football?
Ntombifuthi Khumalo: The most exciting part is when I develop or assist players on or off the field and they go on to become a better competitive player and better persons in life.

Q: Has SAFA helped you with your coaching certificates?
Ntombifuthi Khumalo: SAfA uMgungundlovu has been very supportive. When there is anything happening within the region, they always informed me about it. For a higher coaching course? No. SAFA national has not helped me. I even remember the time applying for a B license course which was specific for women only, but SAFA national didn’t accept me.

Q: How did you strategise to win the KZN Sasol League in 2018? And to get Durban Ladies to the finals of the national playoffs?
Ntombifuthi Khumalo: Winning the Sasol league in 2018 was based on information of knowing very well all teams we were competing against. And for the team – that was Durban Ladies – I made a few changes in style of play and playing positions. We finished the league with a well disciplined team and focussed players. All of the team players were ready for the national playoffs after our triumphant KZN league championship win. We also had many sessions on preparing the players to take their football lives and stories to higher levels.

Q: What coaching programmes are you now involved with?
Ntombifuthi Khumalo: My favourite coaching programme is the FNB Football First, based in Pietermaritzburg in KZN that I’ve been involved with from  2011 – 2020. In 2020, I also coach the UKZN women’s football team.

Q: What would you like to achieve as a football coach?
Ntombifuthi Khumalo: If one day my country South Africa has a women’s professional league, then I would like to be part of that professional league as a coach.
Q: Your most admired women football coaches?
Ntombifuthi Khumalo: I have worked with some women football coaches, not many. My most admired women coaches in football are Maud Khumalo, Anna Monate and a young emerging goalkeeper coach, Zanele Zungu.

Q: How can women’s football coaching improve in South Africa?
Ntombifuthi Khumalo: It’s not on point, yet. But it seems to be slowly coming along with more women coaches being given opportunities.

Q: What do you do besides football coaching?
Ntombifuthi Khumalo: I watch football and concentrate mostly on my small programmes in the community, in different fields.

Q: And your leisure and pleasure time? How do you spend it?
Ntombifuthi Khumalo: Spend with my family. I have many families that are always there, for me and always playing important parts for me to rise and they support me. I also have friends who are playing different roles in my life. Me and my friends we love to go out more than staying indoors.

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