‘Golden Feet’ embark on Namibian adventure

Zoë de Kock set to join Namibian professional women’s side Ramblers FC, in Windhoek. Picture: Fuad Esack

Zoë de Kock, 18, a member of the Rocklands-based Hotspurs Ladies FC is set to join Namibian professional women’s side Ramblers FC, in Windhoek.

Just under a year ago, Plainsman reported that the star striker was destined for greater things as she received her third call up to the national under-17 side, ahead of the Council of Southern Africa Football Association (Cosafa) Girls’ under-17 Region 5 championships in Malawi, in December (“Star player destined for bigger things”, Plainsman, Wednesday November 23, 2022).

A Grade 11 pupil at Tafelsig High, Zoë, along with former Hotspurs teammate Lana Phillips, attended a church service in Westridge on Sunday, before heading to the Portland sportsfield for a quick kick-about. The two are set to leave for Namibia on Friday to join up with the Windhoek-based side.

Namibia-bound Zoë de Kock and Lana Phillips on the ball at Portland sportsfield following Sunday’s church service in Westridge. Picture: Fuad Esack

Seems her late grandfather, Vivian Paulse, who died last year, was on to something when he called her “Golden Feet” whenever he arrived home from work or church. Her feet is certainly worth her weight in gold, as the young player has impressed for club and country. Now a new adventure awaits.

New adventures await in Namibia for Zoe de Kock, from Tafelsig, who is set to join Windhoek-based women’s professional side Ramblers FC. Picture: Fuad Esack

The pairs’ move was made possible thanks to Carmen Rene Adendorff, from Portland, who works for a sports marketing agency and is a big supporter of women’s football.

Adendorff, a well-known figure in Futsal, has worked with the Football Association of Zambia and on a number of international soccer events, including the FIFA World Cup Draw 2022 in Qatar and last years’ Women’s African Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco where national women’s coach Desiree Ellis and Banyana Banyana claimed the continental title.

From left, Lana Phillips, Carmen Rene Adendorff and Zoë de Kock share a light moment at Portland sportsfield following Sunday’s church service. Picture: Fuad Esack

She said the technical director of the club and one of the Namibian national coaches reached out to her asking for three players because his club wanted to spice up their squad heading into the new Namibia National Women’s League.

“Promoting women’s football is crucial for fostering gender equality, empowering women, and challenging stereotypes,” she said.

“It provides opportunities for women to excel in football, encourages a more inclusive sporting culture, and inspires the next generation of female footballers.”

“As a girl coming from Mitchell’s Plain, being blessed with the opportunity to help other females in the football industry, is something I am grateful for. Needless to say, Lana and Zoë will be the first two South African females to play in the Namibian Women’s League,” she said.

Carmen Rene Adendorff, centre, with Lana Phillips, left and Zoë de Kock for whom she helped facilitate a move to Namibia. Picture: Fuad Esack

Hotspurs director of football, Yaasien Solomons, says the opportunity came about when he was asked for female players that would be interested in playing in Namibia.

“There is currently so much focus on developing the women’s game and there are so many opportunities being created for the women. With the senior national women’s team, Banyana Banyana doing so well, there is interest from clubs all over the world looking at the South African players. If you look, we currently have SA women’s footballers playing in European and South American leagues,” he said.

Hotspurs Ladies FC coach Yaasien Solomons, back row, centre, and squad gather for a team picture.

He said recommending Zoë was a no-brainer as she has what it takes to compete at the highest level.

“I think it’s her drive, her mind was made up early that she is going to make it as a professional footballer. And her mind is 110% focused on realising that dream,” he said.

Hotspurs Ladies FC coach Yaasien Solomons and Zoë de Kock.

Unchain The Plain project manager and close family friend, Juven Rittles, says he met Zoë’s grandmother a few years ago, who told him of her granddaughter’s soccer talents.”I stayed in touch with her Ma who shared with me her progress, went and watched Zoë play for Hotspurs and saw her at the airport when she was called up to the national team,” he said.

From left, Unchain The Plain project manager friend, Juven Rittles, Zoë de Kock and her grandmother Venusha Paulse.

Rittles, senior pastor at Eagle Wings ministries, based at Westville Primary School, says Sunday’s service was in part dedicated to the two players ahead of their departure to Namibia.

“My message to them was that their talent is a gift from God and they must give it back to Him, it must be done to honour Him,” he said.

While concentrating on their spiritual needs, he said that society as a whole should strive to uplift all women, including those involved with sport.

“Women’s sport should play a definitive role in steering our young people and in today’s world, women don’t have to stand back or play second to any male-dominated sports,” he said.

Zoë de Kock and Lana Phillips. Picture: Fuad Esack

“For me, it’s about giving it your all on the field, doing the basics and doing what’s expected from you and always listening to your coach,”said Zoë, who will now complete her schooling in Windhoek and has set her sights on studying at university.

“The only thing I would like to add is that you need to work hard – not only in soccer but in life in order to be where you want to be one day,” she said.