Mafikeng Ladies team captain, Amogelang Ngwenya, is aiming to follow in the footsteps of Thembi Kgatlana as she draws inspiration from the national team footballer to become an international star.
The 22-year-old goalkeeper from Uitkyk in the North West Province started playing for the boys team at primary school and has been hooked ever since.
In 2021, Ngwenya made her return to the sport after three years on the sidelines as she took time to focus on her schooling career.
The versatile footballer has played in every position on the field and will be aiming to use it as her advantage as she develops in the sport.
Speaking with Tlamelo Kganakga, Ngwenya shares details about her journey to date and bouncing back from challenges.
Amogelang, thank you for chatting to us. Please tell about yourself and where you are from?
Hi. Thanks for having me. My name is Amogelang Ngwenya, I’m 22-years-old from Uitkyk Village near Gelukspan. I started playing soccer when I was still young in Primary School. That was the time I knew that I loved football and that I could play. I even joined the school team, that time I was the only girl playing for the boys team and I loved it because they didn’t just see me as the girl but as their teammate. Since then, I’ve been playing soccer.
When and why did you decide that you wanted to get into soccer?
Before I joined Mafikeng Ladies I played for a few teams before. I once played for Mafikeng Ladies in 2015 under the same Coach Mshengu, then I went on to play for Zebras Ladies that was from my village, where we were in the Regional League in 2017.
After Zebras, there was a team from Colingy called Tlhabologang Ladies under Coach Baggio. I played for them from 2017-2018 and that was the last time I played.
Since 2018 I haven’t been playing then this year when Coach Mshengu asked what team I’m playing for I told him that I am not playing. He then told me that he’s opening the team again and he needs players. I couldn’t say no because I love being on the field. Since February 2021 I’ve been with the team, and it has been great playing for Mafikeng Ladies.
You are the captain of Mafikeng Ladies team. How does it feel to lead the team into games and how do you encourage each other?
Being the captain has been the best thing ever because it’s so fun working with the team and the coaches. There’s a lot of love and respect in the team that makes me happier to be the captain of the team.
Every time when we go to games, I always say that we should just enjoy and play the game we love, even the coach always tells us that we should enjoy, be free and treat every game as if it’s our first.
What has been a setback in your life and what did you learn from it?
Well, I can’t say that they have been any setbacks before. It’s just that I only stopped playing trying to focus on my school work. There’s nothing that has stopped me from being a player, being a football player is what I enjoy most and I’m happy that I’m still playing.
What are the challenges you have faced?
The only challenge that I’ve faced was not believing in myself and that I can be a better player one day, I thought that I wasn’t good enough but with time I grew and I started believing in myself, as well as my family as they believed in me. I’m just glad that I didn’t stop, not forgetting coach Mshengu, he’s always there for me making sure that I become a better player and I’m grateful for that.
What have been the highlights of your career so far?
The biggest highlights of my career were discovering that I can play in all positions. I mean back then I started playing as a striker and moved to play as a defender and as a midfielder. Now at Mafikeng Ladies I’m playing as a goalkeeper. That has been something else as I never knew I could be versatile.
Who inspires you to be a better player?
Coach Mshengu was there for me since day one and he has been encouraging me to be a better player. Not saying it’s only Coach Mshengu but other coaches as well (I can’t say them all), even my family they always push me to do what I love most by supporting me in what I do.
Who would you say is your biggest opponent in the Ngaka Modiri Molema Regional League?
I’d say our biggest opponents has been Magra Academy throughout the whole league it’s been them.
Who are some of the sportswomen you admire and why?
Well, I look up to Thembi Kgatlana. I just love how determined she is and how she plays. It’s so amazing and amazing to watch her play. She inspires me to do great and be great in the game that I play, and I hope one day I’ll reach that stage too – being someone’s role model.
What else do you want to achieve in your career?
I want to see myself playing abroad, joining the big teams out there and making a name for myself. I want to see myself growing up in the game becoming a better player and I believe that one day I’ll reach that goal.
What is your greatest ambition?
My ambition is to see myself in the National team one day.
What do you think of gsport and its impact on women’s sports?
Well, I think gsport is a great platform to encourage women to do what they love without judging them, encouraging them not to listen to what others say about them. It’s great to have such a platform that shows women too can also be involved in sports.
Lastly what do you think we as media can do to amplify women’s sports coverage?
I think the media should continue to encourage women in sports showing them that they are appreciated, and they support them in every step they take in the sports world.
Photo 1 Caption: Mafikeng Ladies team captain, Amogelang Ngwenya, is aiming to follow in the footsteps of Thembi Kgatlana as she draws inspiration from the national team footballer to become an international star. Photo: Supplied