Soccer has always been regarded as a ‘man’s sport’ but women have since dribbled their way in and will let nobody stop them from reaching their goal. A young soccer star, Lindokuhle Duntsu (20), from crime-ridden Philippi in Cape Town won’t let naysayers kick her around.
“I started playing soccer with boys back then when I was in Grade 1. People always gave me nasty names saying I’d become a ‘tomboy’. But I never paid them any mind – all I cared about was soccer.
“In Grade 8 there was a coach called Ben Biko who used to go to our school and ask for players but only a few people would come forward. I knew I loved soccer and one day I joined his team. He’d organise transport for us as he didn’t have his own car. Sometimes we skipped gym due to financial constraints,” recalls Lindokuhle.
Lindokuhle has had to stand her ground and convince people that she was cut out for this.
“We fight a lot at home. Sometimes I ask my parents to buy me soccer boots but they’ll tell me they haven’t got money. I’ve had to play with sneakers or just sit on the bench and watch others play due to not having my own boots.”
Lindokuhle persevered and her dreams drew even closer.
“In 2015 we went to trial for the provincial u19 Women’s Championships. I was so scared ’cos they needed only twenty out of more than fifty players. Fortunately, I made the team as a goalkeeper. We played in Gauteng with all the provinces and went to the finals with the Eastern Cape. I was crowned player of the tournament,” she adds, bringing a wide smile that stretches from ear to ear.
After her stunning performance in the tournament, Lindokuhle had a few hindrances to tackle.
“After a month I got a call up from the national team u20. They needed a team to compete in Zambia but I didn’t make the cut this time around. I was disappointed yes but I didn’t let that discourage me. I continued doing what I love the most and that’s playing football,” she adds that she made the provincial team once more in 2016.
She does admit soccer has impacted negatively on her academic performance and still tries to find that balance.
“In Grade 11 I went to a soccer camp and I didn’t write my September exams. My results were withheld as a result so I had to repeat my grade. I continued with my studies. My parents are go-getters. If they want something they won’t give up until they get it so I take my drive from them.” She’s now a student at Northlink College.
Her career was still warming up when she hit another challenge.
“The team I was playing for started losing players. It was painful to see my team vanishing just like that. Our team kept on dwindling day by day and in 2018 we ended up with no team at all. I had gotten used to those guys I played with.
“However, God came to my rescue once more. I got a call from one of the biggest teams in Cape Town the Cape Town Rose, which plays in the professional league Sasol professional. I have my eyes on the national team now. I want to tell the youth if you want something go for it. Seek help from other people ’cos no man is an island. You need others to lift you up the ladder,” Lindokuhle blows the whistle concluding the interview.
Tell us: Do you think we, as a society, are doing enough to include women in sports that were previously male-dominated?