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World Cup, I am Ready...

The 1999 Nike U/15 Tournament in Milpark was actually not where it started for the Kwa-Thema Football star Ms. Gabisile China Hlumbane. She actually started her football in the dusty streets of Kodisang-Emasimini Section Kwa-Thema where, as a hopeful 10-year-old, she watched her brother become the star of the Community.

With the approval of her brother and family, who were very protective of China, they allowed her to join the Kwa-Thema Ladies Club under the former USSA and BanyanaBanyana Coach Joseph Skheshekeshe Mkhonza in 1998. In 2004 after an enquiry by Ms. Nomsa Mahlangu, the rising star from Kwa-Thema left to join the University of Free State in 2005 where she enrolled for a BA in Public Administration.

China, as she is affectionately known, made her debut for the USSA National Team in 2008 at the FASU Games that were held in Uganda and a year later at the 25th Summer Universiade in Serbia (Belgrade)under the late Coach Sello Bossy-Cry Mokoena. It was not long thereafter she was invited to the BanyanaBanyana National Team by Coach Augustine Makalakalane and made her debut cap in a build up to the AWC Games against Zimbabwe in September 2010. In 2011 she dedicated her time in BanyanaBanyana and make the team that embarked on qualification for the London Olympics where she had now reunited with her childhood Coach Joseph Skheshekeshe Mkhonza who had been employed as a BanyanaBanyana Coach in 2011.

When SASCOC announced the final team to the London Olympics, the name of Gabisile Hlumbane was one of those that had made the team, ecstatic with joy her dream to compete at World Stage events both the Universiade and Olympics were realised with only the World Cup to aim for. On their return from London she took a break from football and only in 2014 she registered with Central University of Technology for a BTECH in Education and Technology where she is currently completing this semester. In the same year, she had joined the Bloemfontein Celtics Ladies Club and campaigned for the team in 2014 and 2015 and in early 2016 with a group of ladies from Bloemfontein they established a Ladies Football Club which is also currently competing at the SASOL Free State League.

At the AGM of USSA Football in 2016 Ms. Hlumbane was elected into the Executive Committee as a Development officer. This new position and new administrative environment is far from the grass has helped her to understand the backroom operations of an organisation. In her own words: I am not finished USSA has an age limit, who knows maybe I can push back into the BanyanaBanyana set up and realise my World Cup dream, after all i have the International experience.

Ms. Hlumbane will forever remain the inspiration for the children of Emasimini Kwa-Thema, just because of her resilience to be able to play soccer and earn a teaching qualification. She spends most of her time now as an Educator at Hodisa Technical School in Free State but still makes time for her Simunye Ladies Club and USSA Football activities.



Posted by USSA Communications Unit on 2017-02-08.
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