In the mid-90s a man had the dream to see more female teams in football rise, and to get children from poor backgrounds to excel in sports.
It was then that Papa Douglas Shilubane came up with the idea to start the non-profit organisation Mintlangu Sports Foundation (MSF), which now has teams training in Kyalami.
The organisation was created to provide activities and opportunities to all players and to enhance the lives of young people from disadvantaged communities and areas. The teams train in Kyalami and have their home ground matches in Pretoria.
“We wanted to start a team for women. Now we are starting with women’s football in Kyalami,” Shilubane said.
The sports foundation’s main focus is the inclusion of women in the team of Mintlangu, either with coaches or behind the scenes. With a background team made up of 14 people, six of them are women, with one being a coach as well for the U13 and netball coach.
Throughout the years, the foundation has paid out of its own pockets for different equipment needed. Clothing brand Kappa, who is a technical supplier of the foundation, provides kits and shoes for a lower price. “Our challenge was setting it up, but Manchester United has been sending us some stuff,” he said as he held up a black Manchester United shirt.
Other clubs have been sending through equipment to the foundation since 2015. These include English football clubs Manchester United and Queens Park Rangers, with some kit donated to the club.
Last year, the foundation also signed with an Indian-based institute for sports education, the Institute of Sport Science and Technology (ISST). Following similar ways of Unisa in having distance courses, players are encouraged to take these courses in fields such as sports and exercise psychology, and sports management.
“You hear about players who did not go to school, so we bought a shareholding with this centre,” he said. It is still being developed in South Africa, and should be available soon.
Shilubane recognised that for teams in the community, it is a dream to play against Mamelodi Sundowns due to their quality of football. The Mintlangu U13, U15 and U17 teams will be playing against Sundowns on 15 February. In this league, the season continues until November.
The Mintlangu football teams are recognised and affiliated with the Football Association of Pretoria, which is also a member of South African Football Association (SAFA).
MSF is also working towards having a permanent plot to build a school where training can take place. However, the foundation still has to grow the footballers in their skills to excel at whichever club they go to.
The sports foundation also plans to meet with Tshwane Netball on 18 February to have netball teams introduced for more players to join.