A decade ago, Selina Munsamy began her sporting journey recording scores during local matches for Tongaat Cricket Union in KwaZulu-Natal. Today, she leads the way as Hollywoodbets KZN Women’s Cricket Manager.
As a pioneer and champion supporter of women’s sport in South Africa, it is women like Munsamy who are breaking down barriers and fighting for equal opportunities for the next generation of women.
The 2019 Momentum gsport Awards Supporter of the Year Finalist has used social media and the gsport platform to share her story as well as that of other women in sport across the globe, hoping to encourage more women to use the platforms at their disposal to showcase their talents.
Despite her success, Munsamy has faced challenges which threatened to end her sporting journey. Typical South African woman style, her passion steered her back to the game.
Selina, tell us about your views on the public call for the 2020 Momentum gsport Awards, as we celebrate our 15th edition?
Wow, 15 years! Well done! What do you say about an organisation that has done so well in supporting women in sport? There are really no words to describe that feeling. The fact that gsport opens up the nominations to the public is a great opportunity because it helps to unearth women who are generally hidden in their sporting franchises, sporting fraternities, universities, schools and it’s women that we don’t necessarily see on an every day basis, so the awards give the public the opportunity to nominate these amazing women.
What are your thoughts on the two new categories – African Woman in Sport and Global Woman in Sport?
gsport continues to grow every day and I think it was Kass Naidoo’s idea to grow the gsport brand globally and she has done a magnificent job, especially when she went to India last year with the Momentum Proteas team. She has made her mark on the global stage as a formidable woman in sport and has also made the mark for gsport.
“It allows gsport to become a household name globally and on the continent. It also gives us the opportunity to celebrate other women outside of South Africa.” – Selina Munsamy speaks on the introduction of the African Woman in Sport and Global Woman in Sport categories for the 2020 Momentum gsport Awards.
By introducing these two new awards categories, it allows gsport to become a household name globally and on the continent. It also gives us the opportunity to celebrate other women outside of South Africa.
What did it mean to be a Finalist at the 2019 Momentum gsport Awards?
That was the best moment of my sporting career and that spans over a 10-year period! To have received that recognition and be considered one of the three best sports supporters in the country was magnificent. And, it had come at a point in my life where I was so heartbroken and heartsore. I took it in my stride and I still cannot describe that feeling. It is something that I will treasure forever. I honestly never expected to be nominated and then be a finalist, it is still a wow factor in my life.
I don’t think that I have said thank you enough to everyone who supported me and voted me, so thank you to everyone who showed me so much love and support last year. I really appreciate you all!
How did things change since that night?
My life has changed so much since August 2019. I was literally just a scorer in the background, doing her thing, getting her work done, scoring the games and going home. Then, I became a gsport finalist and it was also in the pipeline that I wanted to become KZN Women’s Cricket Manager and it was around August 22nd when I became the official Manager. My life has taken off like a jet! I’ve had no time to myself because it’s sport, travelling, work, more travelling and it has left me with less time to be at home.
My sporting career itself has grown so much because gsport has given me the platform to write about the CSA leagues and unveil other amazing women in sport across different franchises and personally, that has been a growing point because isn’t something I would have done, maybe later in my life but not at this point in time. I have enjoyed the experience and the growth of my career as a sporting personality and I still learn every day because there is so much to learn and to do and there are so many amazing women out there that I would love to speak to. I did an interview with Brittany Carter! Geez, wow! To have done my first international interview was so special to me and gsport has allowed me the platform to be myself and I will always be grateful for it.
Your story is the true definition of “started from the bottom now we’re here” Please tell us more about your sporting career and the role played by gsportforgirls.
It all started off with scoring, I joined the Scorers Association and I scored for my local cricket union which is Tongaat Cricket Union. I did the KZN scorers’ exam with the KZN Scorers Association in 2010 and I started off doing practice games and then moved on to do provincial games. I was the only female executive at Tongaat, which was okay, but we used to have a lot of disagreements because I always fought for what I believed in and stood my ground. Daniel Govender who is the current Vice-President of KZN Cricket Union always tells me that I am the best fighter he has come across (chuckles). I am so appreciative of all the starting opportunities that I have had, and it is because of their belief in me that I could be someone in the sporting fraternity. They gave me the opportunity to do the scorers course and for that I will always be grateful for everyone at Neston Cricket Club and Tongaat Cricket Union.
“I had lost my mum in July that year and it was something that I couldn’t handle because I felt that I had given so much of my time to sport and it had taken me away from my mum and I was at a point where I didn’t want to be part of sport.” – Munsamy points out a moment when she almost gave up on her sporting career.
I’ve done the U19 Girls National Week as KZN scorer from 2012 until 2014. December 2014 was unfortunately my last due to the fact that I had lost my mum in July that year and it was something that I couldn’t handle because I felt that I had given so much of my time to sport and it had taken me away from my mum and I was at a point where I didn’t want to be part of sport.
Fast track to 2017 and I had come across the gsport Awards. There was a segment where you were given the opportunity to motivate why you should be given an invite to attend the event and I told myself that I wanted to go because I remembered in 2010, Kass had sent me a message and encouraged me to blog about being a female in sport and at the time I said I would do it but the do it never happened. I guess at the time, when I look back at it, I wasn’t ready for it because I was starting out in my sporting career. It was only when I started working with the U19s and together with Dinesh (Dinesha Devnarain) and I thought that we can change the way that people look at females in sport and that’s when my entire outlook changed.
That’s when I wrote my motivation to be part of the awards and I got accepted but I lived in KZN and the awards were in Johannesburg. Ryk Meiring (gsport Editor) had called me to explain that the initiative only pays for the finalists’ travel and accommodation. I was so disheartened, but I told myself that no matter what I was going to be there! So, I called Ryk back and told him that I would pay for my own flight and accommodation.
Going to the 2017 gsport Awards was the turning point for me. I met amazing women in sport and Kass mentioned something to me that has stuck with me ever since. She said, “Enjoy the night, rub shoulders with everyone, enjoy the experience and one day you will be standing up on that stage.” Two years down the line, I was a finalist! gsport has motivated me to use my voice for women in sport, to grow the following for women in sport because for so long women have been in the background with everything – sponsorships, media coverage, interviews – we always fall down the wayside and it’s only in recent times that you see that women in sport are being recognised and gsport itself is in the forefront, recognising women in sport and giving us the platform to be appreciated by telling our amazing stories.
What is it about cricket that ignites a fire in you?
Cricket is special to me, it’s a sport that has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My dad used to take me to the games at Kingsmead Stadium, I was about 7 or 8 years old at the time and that atmosphere and watching live game made me fall in love. But for female cricket, that fire ignited when I met Dinesha and Trisha Chetty at a KFC mini-cricket tournament that the KZN Cricket Union had hosted and it was me watching these two amazing international players interact with the kids, imparting their knowledge, that fired up this part of me to make a difference in a child’s life and getting girls active in sport. That was another turning point! I seem to have a lot of turning points, hey (chuckles). But, honestly, these two have really made my journey in cricket so special because since that day we have kept in contact, tracked their journeys, and I’ve interacted with them on so many levels. It’s special to see women be able to play cricket and do it so well as the same time.
What is your take on a brand of Momentum’s stature standing behind the Proteas Women team?
Momentum have been a formidable force in supporting women’s sport, especially the national women’s team and backing the gsport awards. To have a massive corporate sponsor such as Momentum back the women’s team is huge! It gives the team a sense of appreciation, it encourages the players to want to do better, it makes them want to work harder because they are wearing their sponsors name on their shirts and would want to do well – it is a sense of pride knowing that there is someone backing them. Momentum is leading the way and are encouraging other corporates to back women’s sport, they have set the benchmark, they have set the stage and well done to them for doing this!
What changes would you like to see in the promotion of women’s sport?
We definitely need media coverage, more sponsors to come on board and promote women’s sport through social media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – get behind every sporting code that women are participating in and make a noise about it. It is one of the ways that we can let others know that there is women’s sport out there. Promoting needs to start from school level, put out pamphlets and I think this is where we fall behind.
We also need to ensure that we have a pipeline from school level to provincial set-up’s and then into the national teams. So, there needs to be more coverage from grassroots level for this process to take place.
Which women in sport inspire you and why?
There are so many women that inspire me! But I would say that stand out for me during my 10-year journey in sport – Kass Naidoo and Dinesha Devnarain. Kass has played a big part in mu journey in sport. She has been a mentor, a friend, she has been with me through the tough times and the good ones, she has inspired me to be a better person, inspired me to follow my sporting dreams and on my bad days she has been there to encourage and lift me up.
The same goes for D, she’s such an amazing coach at KZN cricket and now going into the national set-up. She’s also been a friend, mentor, my coach, she’s been someone that I fight with in the changeroom (giggles), obviously we aren’t always going to see eye-to-eye, you know how a manager and coach are, but we also fight the same fight and that is growing women’s cricket. When I look at where she started, where she is and where she is going, it is inspiring.
What is your message to the youth?
Believe in yourself, back yourself, never doubt yourself and remember that it is okay to fall, just as long as you pick yourself up again! And, it’s okay to make mistakes, we are human but it’s not okay to stay on the ground. Keep trying until you make it!
Photo 1 Caption: 2019 Momentum gsport Awards Supporter of the Year Finalist, Selina Munsamy, pictured as a guest at a Central Gauteng Lions match. Photo: Supplied
Photo 2 Caption: Pictured with the Hollywoodbets KZN Ladies Team in Cape Town. Photo: Supplied
Photo 3 Caption: Selina Munsamy picture in her corporate job. Photo: Supplied
Photo 4 Caption: Celebrating PinkDay with Cricket South Africa’s Lesego Pooe. Photo: Supplied
Photo 5 Caption: Pictured with Rahul Dravid at the U19 World Cup pre-tournament tri-series. Photo: Supplied