The big day of the matches arrived. Unlike the other days, the stands around the soccer field were packed as many parents attended to support their children.

But importantly, there were scouts who were looking for talented players for the Western Cape Province in the SAFA Women’s under 19 Interprovincial Championship.

Analo was ready for this day. She had trained very hard. She knew she was too young and inexperienced to be selected, but she wanted people to see how good she was now – and so see how good she could be one day.

Analo was warming up along the field line waiting for her time to be called to the field. She was a substitute in the Under 17 team.

The teams were given twenty minutes to play each other, and after twelve tense minutes, that seemed an eternity, she was called to the field.

“Go for it Analo!” said her coach, as she jogged on.

The spectators were immediately impressed with Analo’s ball control and speed and soon went wild every time she had the ball at her feet. The defenders from the other team were finding it hard to stop her.

Analo’s team was given a corner kick. She was in the penalty box ready to head the ball when she heard the shouting. Everybody froze.

Her mother was coming towards her over the pitch – and she was furious!

“Analo, ufuna ntoni apha? What did we tell you about playing soccer? Shouldn’t you be attending the extra class?” her mother shouted, interrupting the game. Analo wanted to disappear into the ground.

“What is this, Analo?” Nomalizo shook a brown envelope at Analo. “You lied to us and said you didn’t receive a school report. Is this the way we raised you?”

“I’m sorry, Ma!” Analo cried as Asiphe came running onto the pitch to see what had happened, and to try to sort it out so they could continue the game.

“What? Sorry Mama for what?” Nomalizo started shouting.

“Wait, wait, Mama. Calm down. What’s going on here? Did you not know Analo was playing soccer? You signed the indemnity form,” Asiphe began, trying to get Nomalizo off the pitch so they could sit down and talk reasonably.

“Signed what? I never signed anything. Analo was supposed to be going for tutoring. She should have been at extra lessons.” She glared at Analo. “Yes, I found out that you only went to one. One!”

“You didn’t ask your parents to sign the indemnity form?” Asiphe looked at Analo.

“Yes … I did … but …” Analo felt so ashamed. “They wouldn’t.”

“But we have the form. Analo, who signed the indemnity form kanti?” Asiphe was completely baffled.

“Ndi … ndim, Coach.” Analo confessed. “I so wanted to play soccer, but they wouldn’t let me!” Analo cried.

“You signed my signature?” Nomalizo was furious.

“Analo, listening to your parents is very important. What if something bad had happened to you while you were with us? What you have done is serious. You are not allowed to come here again until your parents allow you,” Asiphe said sternly.

“But it’s everything to me!” Analo cried.

Asiphe turned to Nomalizo. “I appeal to you to let Analo continue with soccer, if she attends the tutorials too. She really is talented. If you come and watch her play–”

“Enkosi, mntwan’am,” Nomalizo said to Asiphe, “but my husband and I will decide what’s good for our child. Masigoduke wena, your father is waiting for you at home.”

Everyone was staring at Analo as Nomalizo dragged her off the pitch. How could she face the team again after what her mother had done? In that moment she felt like never coming back to school … ever!

***

Tell us: What do you think of Analo’s mother’s actions?