Brenda Mafunisa Lands Historic SAFA Leadership Position in Northern Cape

Brenda Mafunisa knows just what it takes to raise her game to the next level and she has certainly done that! She was recently appointed by the South African Football Association as the Provincial Executive Officer of the Northern Cape. Photo: Brenda Mafunisa on Instagram

As a former footballer, Brenda Mafunisa understands the dedication required to excel. Her years of commitment, hard work, and determination have led to her appointment by the South African Football Association as the Provincial Executive Officer of the Northern Cape.

In her new role, Brenda Mafunisa is responsible for overseeing the administration of football in the province, including managing competitions, facilitating technical development and supervising referees. 

Additionally, she ensures compliance with the SAFA constitution and oversees the effective functioning of the judicial structures and processes of the Association in the province. After being shortlisted for the position, Mafunisa successfully completed two interviews, securing the job.

Her appointment to a leadership position is historic, marking her as the first woman to head a football association in the Northern Cape. Mafunisa sees this achievement as evidence that women have rightfully earned the opportunity to hold such positions.

“As a 34-year-old, it simply means that (young) women can certainly take up space in strategic positions, I was a soccer player before I developed within the Sasol league, and it’s historic because it’s not common to find women taking up such positions in my province.”

Newly Appointed SAFA Northern Cape Provincial Executive Officer, Brenda Mafunisa

Mafunisa has played for Royal Wizards Ladies FC in the Sasol league, the Abantwana team in the Vodacom League, and Super Falcons Ladies FC.

“I hold a master’s degree in commerce so that also played a role because I was able to balance my love for football and education for me to one day make a difference in the football fraternity. I can now actively engage with regions and LFA’s to establish programs that foster women’s participation in sports.”

Mafunisa, a former recipient of the Momentum gsport Awards, was honoured with the Special Recognition Award in 2023. This recognition is particularly fitting for someone who has emerged as a prominent advocate for women’s sport and has now assumed a leadership role. 

She emphasizes how the #PowerOfRecognition has not only propelled her success but has also inspired women in her community.

“Being recognised at the Momentum gsport Awards played a crucial role for me and the women coming from my province, yes I was the first woman from my province to win such an award and it was a historic moment for us.”

“I must say for women playing soccer in the amateur league I saw them rallying behind me simply because I felt like they related to my journey as a female in sport with not much recognition but we served the sport only for the love of the game. So it brought so much hope to so many young women in sport and sense of belonging thanks to gsport.”

The #PowerOfRecognition has demonstrated to Mafunisa her inherent ability and resilience to overcome setbacks and achieve her goals.

“For me, it means to have a sense of deep conviction to achieve what you want to achieve. To get up after failure with confidence and try again. To have a sense of calm, have a sense of patience, have ambition irrespective of your situation because there are a group of so many women who your story might encourage to get up and live with purpose.”

She is thankful for the immense support from her community, stating that she has ‘broken the stereotype.’ Mafunisa feels genuinely proud to have achieved such a significant milestone

“It was rather an overwhelming welcome and I never thought so many people watched and followed my journey to winning the gsport Awards,” says Mafunisa. “Most importantly it broke the social stereotype that living in an area with not much exposure to the world, you can get recognised through one good deed. So the clubs, community, and government welcomed me as a true icon.”

Mafunisa has also highlighted the importance of Momentum and its role in making the gsport Awards a really meaningful experience for finalists and winners.

“Momentum has been the pillar of gsport Awards from day one and, certainly as a finalist, you are welcomed and treated like an A-lister, truly like a queen. 

“We met other finalists and we just clicked we shared our stories and could relate to each other. gsport creates a platform for true sisterhood and friendships that even continue after the awards. Truly a phenomenal bond in supporting each other in sports.”

In her new role, Mafunisa aims to achieve several objectives, including further enhancing football in the province and ensuring sustained growth opportunities for women in the sport in the years ahead.

“My main priority will be to establish programs and competitions where women’s participation in sports from the grassroots level is implemented. This will be through more skills development programs where I would like to see more women referees, coaches, administrators and club owners being qualified and capable of running successful teams and producing top women athletes who are going to feed into our national teams in the future.”

Who better to consult than the self-professed ‘champion of women’s sport’ on how to facilitate more women rising into leadership positions in sports? Mafunisa emphasises the importance of widespread support across various sectors, recognising the challenges women face in their daily lives.

“Women should be more capacitated and supported within the public sector and private sector. They should be trusted to lead and allowed to do so independently. Women face a whole lot an abuse, especially with a physical appearance so employers must always protect women in their space.”

Mafunisa, a leader in her field, acknowledges the trailblazers who have supported her journey and offers valuable advice for those entering the sports sphere.

“I look up to Kass Naidoo, Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Kabelo Bosilong, Lux September, and myself. I am inspired by all women in sports young and old because every day I learn something from them and their strides.”

“My advice to women is to be in your lane, in your pace and your race. Always support each other and never envy the success of others. Work hard, affirm and you will achieve what you want to achieve bearing in mind the process of learning never stops”, she added. 


Main Photo caption: Brenda Mafunisa knows just what it takes to raise her game to the next level and she has certainly done that! She was recently appointed by the South African Football Association as the Provincial Executive Officer of the Northern Cape. Photo: Brenda Mafunisa on Instagram

Photo 2 caption: Mafunisa has played for Royal Wizards Ladies in the Sasol League, the Abantwana team in the Vodacom League, and Super Falcons Ladies FC. Photo: Supplied

Photo 3 caption: 2023 gsport Special Recognition Award winner Mafunisa says being recognised played a crucial role for her and women from her province. Photo: Photo: Austin Malema / gsport

Photo 4 caption: Mafunisa is responsible for overseeing the administration of football in the Nortern Cape, including managing competitions and supervising referees. Photo: Supplied

Photo 5 caption: This sporting heroine says: “Be in your lane, in your pace and your race. Support each other and never envy the success of others.” Photo: Van der Lith Photography / Brenda Mafunisa on Instagram

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