Through years of dedication, overcoming challenges, and fostering strong team camaraderie, Goal Hunters Football Club has managed to lift Khayelitsha’s women’s football status onto the national stage.
Abazingeli, as they are nicknamed, gained promotion to the Hollywoodbets Super Women’s League over the weekend, following their wins in the Safa WC provincial play-offs against Lucky Girls (2-0) from Overberg, Mbekweni Sundowns (2-1) and Raising The Bar (7-0) from Mossel Bay, at the Parklands sports complex.
The promotional play-off wins came after a successful season in the Safa Cape Town Regional Women’s League. Out of the 22 games the champions played, they won 19, lost two and drew one.
Over the past couple of seasons they were a point away from winning promotion.
But this year, coach Thabo Thukutezi said he saw the women’s efforts right from the start.
“This means a lot to us. The Sasol League is where a lot of the scouts are and where a lot of the call-ups for the national team happen… I am out of words. We’ve been looking for this promotion for a very long time. Last year we fell a point short to Invincible Cravenby. This year, right from preparations in January, the ladies showed great effort for us to achieve this milestone,” said Thukutezi.
Defensive midfielder and captain in the team, Ziphelele Ngangqu said last year’s one point disappointment pushed them to work even harder this year.
“It’s hard work and making sure we are working during training. Our goal was to win the league but we took it one game at a time. Our coach will watch the other team play and we work one match a time. That gave us confidence to fight,” said Ngangqu.
Goal Hunters had a successful season for both the women and junior boys’ teams. They are winners of the Safa CT regional women’s league, winners of the provincial women’s league and champions of the boys’ under-17 local football league. The under-13 and under-15 teams were league runners up in their divisions.
Chairman at Goal Hunters, Anella Botha said they are the third team in Khayelitsha that will play in the Sasol League. They are, however, the first team, without buying a status, to work their way from grassroots right up to the national stage.
“This puts not just the club but the players on the map. It’s great exposure. They are given a platform, everything else is up to them. We will need financial backing and community businesses to support us. There are teams we will play against that are located outside of Cape Town so we will need as much support as possible to keep the dream live for a long time,” Botha said.
Overcoming challenges is the motivation, Botha said, that helps them to win both in their minds and physically.
“It’s not easy running a club at local level so it will be more difficult running it at a national level. Our community has an obligation to play. It’s not just about football but growing the leaders of tomorrow,” said Botha.