Day by day women are owning their success and Thulisile Miya is making no apology as she continues to rise in the world of sports commentary and on the 5th of October 2019, she went on to commentate on the MTN8 final between SuperSport United and Highlands Park.
Growing up in Ixopo in KwaZulu-Natal, Miya played football from a tender age and when she had to juggle her studies and her football, she decided to focus on her education but later went on to pursue
“My name is Thulisile Miya born and bred in Ixopo, south of the KZN province and I have three siblings.”
“I started playing football at the age of 10 with the boys in my hood. I come from a very supportive family, so they never had a problem with me playing the “boys sport”. Football made more sense to me at that time but I knew school was important as well so after matric I studied and obtained a diploma in marketing while playing football even though it was not easy juggling the two until I stopped playing to focus more on my studies,” she said.
Miya’s career began when she took up the opportunity to do a promo for Ukhozi FM and her talent afforded her the chance to become a female commentator for the radio station.
“I had never worked in radio before, but the panel was so impressed with my talent. I was chosen from thousands of passionate girls.” – Football commentator, Thulisiwe Miya
“In November 2013 while at home I heard a promo on radio that Ukhozi FM was looking for a female commentator. Something inside me told me that these people are looking for me because I used to imitate my role model, the legendary Joe Hudla whom I met for the first time during the auditions. I had never worked in radio before, but the panel was so impressed with my talent. I was chosen from thousands of passionate girls.”
Her first match was during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and had her role model, Hudla by her side as guidance, “My first match was during the World Cup in 2014, Spain vs Netherlands, I was nervous and scared but Joe Hudla was with me the whole time guiding me and making sure I don’t panic, he believed in me so much, and that kept me going.”
But, like any female in a male-dominated industry challenges came her way as the radio stations listeners weren’t used to listening to a female voice commentating on a football match.
“It was very difficult in the beginning because Ukhozi’s listeners were not used to a female voice commentating a football match. I had to work twice as hard to prove to them that I know my story. I live football, I had all the support from my colleagues and eventually I managed to change their perception that women know nothing about soccer,” she added.
“Since then I have covered all the biggest events on the planet, two World Cups 2014 and Russia 2018, AFCON tournament, Euro 2015 in France but last weekend was special for me as it was my first final, first for a female on Ukhozi and I was a little bit nervous but I knew they gave me this game because I believe I have grown so much in the industry not because I was being done a favour.
“I was well prepared as always. The atmosphere in Orlando was something else and I was the only woman in the commentary booth, but that never bothered me. I wanted to show every girl out there that nothing is impossible, male dominated industry or not, if you believe in yourself, put in the hard and have the drive to achieve what you want to achieve in life, nothing is impossible. With all the busy schedule I still juggle work with books. I’m doing my third and final year in Public Management at Mangosuthu University of Technology,” she ended.
Photo 1 Caption: Thulisile Miya pictured on duty at Ukhozi FM commentating on football as she has been since November 2013. Photo: Supplied
With editing by gsport