VarsitySportsSA.com looks at the coaches who are responsible for their teams’ playing strategies in this year’s Varsity Women’s Football tournament.
THINASONKE MBULI (UWC)
Mbuli is one of the most decorated mentors, boasting a national diploma in Sports Management from DUT, a Caf A Licence coaching certificate and over 10 years of coaching experience.
Born in Piet Retief in Mpumalanga, the Banyana Banyana assistant coach has made education central to her success and is currently doing a Performance Coaching course at HFPA Academy.
Mbuli played for Durban Ladies (2006-2011) in the Vodacom League and Sasol League before featuring for Sunflower WFC in 2011 in the Sasol League. She won several medals as a player, including the Vodacom and Sasol Leagues in KwaZulu-Natal with Durban Ladies, USSA Championships with DUT in 2005, and the CUCSA Games in 2003 and 2006 when she was selected for the USSA national team (then called SASSU). She was also part of the USSA team that participated at the World Student Games in South Korea in 2003 and in Turkey two years later.
As a coach, Mbuli was in charge of her alma mater DUT (2010-2016) and neighbours UKZN (2016-2018) before taking over at UWC in 2019.
She was also the USSA national team head coach (2016-2020) and at the helm when they won the CUCSA Games in Zimbabwe in 2016 and in Botswana two years later.
KGABE RONALD MOLEPO (UL)
Having taken over the reigns as head coach of UL on 25 May, Molepo has had a short period in charge of his team in Varsity Women’s Football. And it is his first head coach assignment, too. Counting in his favour is the fact that he is a familiar face, having served as the assistant coach of UL since February 2020.
Molepo, who was born in Phaladelphia in Mpumalanga, was part of the Mpumalanga Black Aces team that won the U15 Safa Gauteng Development League in 2015.
He possesses a Safa D Licence coaching certificate and believes in Juilio Leal’s ‘Play as artists and entertainers when we have the ball, defend like warriors when we do not have it’ philosophy.
NTHABELENG MODIKO (WITS)
Marrying sport and education is in the blood for Modiko, making her the perfect person to be head coach of Wits University.
The Kroonstad-born ‘Dunga’, as Modiko is affectionately known, runs BlaqueChange (pronounced ‘black change’), a foundation that provide sports and education opportunities to underprivileged people.
Her wealth of experience and high levels of education add to the mix. She has just completed a Caf C License to add to her BCom Accounting degree from the University of Free State (2007) and a National Diploma in Banking from the University of Johannesburg (2011).
Dunga earned 30 caps for Banyana Banyana and was the captain of the side when they won bronze medal at the African Women Cup of Nations in 2010. She also earned 52 caps for the USSA team, participating in three World Student Games, and won three CUCSA Games.
Modiko played for UFS Kovsies (2003-2007) and Bloemfontein Celtics Ladies (2006-2007) before joining UJ (2008-2014).
She coached Modiko United Killers from Kroonstad, the DeafSA soccer team that participated in the World Deaf Championships in Greece in 2008, and joined Wits in 2017.
MAUD KHUMALO (TUKS)
Khumalo knows South African women’s football inside out. After playing for teams such as Soshanguve Ladies and Hallelujah Zebra Force in her community, she was selected for Banyana Banyana in 2000, won the Cosafa Cup tournament in the same year and represented the country in big tournaments like the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
Khumalo began her coaching career in 2014 and has a Caf A coaching licence. She has coached various teams, including the TUT Soshanguve Campus men’s team, Edu sport SAB men’s team, Banyana Banyana (as an assistant coach), and the U17 and U20 women’s national teams.
“I believe in keeping possession, combination play,” she says.
LETLHOGONOLO QABA (NWU)
It is always important for former professional footballers to plough back their expertise to up-and-coming youngsters, and Qaba is among that group.
The Potchefstroom-born Qaba played for Tawana FC in her hometown before representing Kaizer Chiefs U17 and Wits University U19. He went on to ply his trade at professional level for Wits University, Mamelodi Sundowns, AmaZulu and Black Leopards.
Qaba was also selected to represent South Africa at U20 level but rates the Caf Champions League final in 2001, which Sundowns lost 4-1 on aggregate to Al Ahly, as the greatest moment of his playing career.
Qaba has a Caf C coaching license and has attended numerous football workshops.
ANNA MONATE (UJ)
Monate is another Banyana Banyana legend to be in a Varsity Women’s Football dugout. The Ga-Mashashane-born Monate recently took over the reins of UJ and immediately guided her side to the semi-finals.
Monate was part of the first group of players that formed Banyana Banyana in 1993. She went on to earn 21 international caps and scored six goals for the team before hanging up her boots in 2001.
Possessing a Caf A Licence coaching certificate, she then became an assistant coach for the national U19 side, Basetsana, and was an assistant coach for Banyana Banyana from 2004 to 2009. In 2002, Monate won the Cosafa U20 title and in 2008, as Banyana Banyana caretaker coach, she guided the team that retained the Cosafa Women’s Championship.
Monate is known for putting together the football structures at Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies, who have dominated the Hollywoodbets Super League, South Africa’s top women’s league.
She was the coach of TUT before joining UJ.
SIMPHIWE DLUDLU (TUT)
Six-time Varsity Women’s Football champions TUT have former Banyana Banyana captain Dludlu as their head coach. She took over from another former national captain, Anna Monate, who joined UJ.
A SA Women’s U17 team head coach and SA Women’s U20 assistant coach, Dludlu holds a degree in Sports Science, Caf A and B coaching licenses, and a Uefa B coaching license.
‘Shorty’, as Dludlu is known in football circles, is passionate about balancing sport and education in her role as head coach of TUT.
She also works as a football analyst on SuperSport.
TAONI BHANDA (DUT)
The story of women’s football in KwaZulu-Natal would not be complete without mentioning Bhanda, head coach of DUT.
The Lamontville-born former central midfielder played for Durban Ladies from 1997 when they were called Umlazi Fast Eagles (the name changed to AmaZulu and then Durban Ladies). She captained the side from 2002 to 2007, when she retired.
Bhanda then pursued her coaching career and has a C Licence certificate. She was at the helm of Lamontville and coached the U17 provincial team that won bronze at the national championships in 2018 and the schools provincial squad that won gold in 2019.
Bhanda was appointed as the DUT manager in 2020 and took over the coaching reigns in May 2021.
Her football philosophy is to play according to the players’ strengths, but she believes in a beautiful passing game.