Emily Mathosa on Leading Limpopo Baobabs to TNL Division Two Title Glory

Limpopo Baobabs head coach, Emily Mathosa with the 2023 Telkom Netball League Division Two title. Photo: Emily Mathosa (Facebook)

Over the years, Emily Mathosa has overcome various challenges, which has cumulated in her winning the 2023 Telkom Netball League Division Two title with the Limpopo Baobabs.

The current Head Coach of the Limpopo side made history with the team when Baobabs defeated Tornados 65-40 in front of a buzzing crowd at Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria on Friday, 30 June 2023.

The Polokwane-born has an outstanding list of achievements, which also include winning the prestigious TUT Coach of the Year Award in 2021 and leading the SA U19 team  to gold at the Region 5 in Malawi.

Speaking with Tlamelo Kganakga, Mathosa chats about her journey to date and her views on what makes a good leader.

Emily, congratulations on recently winning the Telkom Netball League Division Two title! How does it feel to have made history with the Limpopo Baobabs team?

It feels great, it always been my dream to make history for our province! I mean I grew up in Polokwane where history was never made in this tournament, and I wanted us to change how people look at us Baobabs and change the narratives. I’m

happy I was given a chance to lead the team and have players who were hungry to do it for us and here we are today making history.

The victory has now paved the way for the team to move to Division One. What are you looking forward to next season?

I’m looking forward to competing against the Top 6 in the TNL, I mean we worked very hard to be where we are today, and we showed between the four lines that it’s doable, so we will go there with a good mindset and compete.

The League has opened many doors for young players. What are your thoughts on Telkom sponsoring this league that will see players putting their hands up for the national team?

Without sponsorship we wouldn’t be playing, we are very privileged and thanks to Telkom for being there for our girls when NSA knocked on their door. Here we are with 15 teams participating in the Telkom League and it shows netball is growing in country and we are thankful for all the support they are giving.

Let’s find out more about you, when and where did your love for sport begin?

I started playing netball in primary school and it always been my first love. I’ve played the sport during my varsity days, through to provincials, national championships & Brutal Fruit 2017, I then started coaching at the national championships in 2018.

What are some of the challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?

I’ve faced quite a few, rejection always been there, but I’m glad I never gave up on my dreams, I kept pushing because I knew exactly what I wanted but honestly, these were not obstacles that one cannot overcome. I kept doing what I love and I’m happy opportunities came through for me and I grabbed them with both hands.

What are some of your career highlights to date?

  • 5th Academic graduation in 2023
  • Aappointed as the Assistant Coach for SA U19 IN December 2021 & winning Gold AT Region 5 in Lesotho
  • Appointed as the SA U19 Head Coach in 2022.
  • appointed as the Head Coach for SA U19 in December 2022 for Region 5 & winning Gold in Malawi
  • Winning gold at the National Males championships with Capricorn in 2021
  • Head Coach of Capricorn senior males team and winning Gold at the Males National Championships in 2022 Division B and being promoted to Division A – another historic moment for Limpopo Netball
  • Winning Bronze medal at the National Twizza championships with Rising Stars Males in 2021
  • Winning TUT Coach of the Year award in 2021
  • Winning silver with Tshwane Senior A at Spar National Championships as assistant coach
  • Winning gold at the Spar National Championships with Tshwane U21A in 2018
  • Winning gold at Spar Championships with the Tshwane U21B in 2020.

Which sportswomen do you admire and why?

I have quite a few, but most women in the forefront who are creating a pathway for the young ones, I admire them a lot!

What do you think makes a great leader?

A person who knows how to manage the people she/he leads & empower others. A person who stays authentic, presents themselves as constant and consistent and are fully present. Allow others to share ideas and work well with everyone.

A good leader is expected not to just perform and deliver, but also to inspire others to perform well in good and bad times. So I think the roles may have highly stressful demands while simultaneously conferring high levels of control. 

What are the pros and cons of being a leader?

Pros:

  • Access to more opportunities.
  • Impact people you lead.
  • Enhance your ability to do more “BIG” things.

Cons:

  • When you are blamed for all the mistakes.
  • The risk of leading your team/others down the wrong path.
  • The pressure to succeed.

What has been some of the lessons you have learned in your journey?

I’ve learned to work with different people, different athletes, that is something I’ll always cherish, I get to learn how others do things.

What is your message to the players that will represent South Africa at the 2023 Vitality Netball World Cup?

Good luck to all players and management, SA is behind all of you, go out there and showcase your talent to the world and fly the SA flag high.

What’s your advice for success?

It is important to define what success means to you, this can be financial stability, career, or personal fulfilment, set goals that align with what you want to achieve, develop a plan and take action, it is very important. Never sleep on your dreams, one day they will become a reality.

What’s your greatest career ambition?

To be a Head/director of Sport in my next lifetime.

Photo 1 Caption: Limpopo Baobabs head coach, Emily Mathosa with the 2023 Telkom Netball League Division Two title. Photo: Emily Mathosa (Facebook)

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