Cape Town — The University of the Western Cape was in a jovial mood on Tuesday when a number of students who were part of Banyana Banyana’s victorious Women’s Africa Cup of Nations squad returned to the campus.
Students, staff and members of the public danced, sang and ululated to cheer the five players – goalkeeper Regirl Ngobeni, defender Bongeka Gamede, midfielders Amogelang Motau and Sibulele Holweni, and forward Noxolo Cesane – as well as coach Thinasonke Mbuli to the stage in front of the Jakes Gerwel Hall.
Apart from the five, the victorious Banyana squad in Morocco also included six UWC alumni in Kaylin Swart, Nomvula Kgoale, Jermaine Seoposenwe, Thalea Smidt, Kholosa Biyana, and Thembi Kgatlana.
“UWC makes champions in the classroom and outside of the classroom. Mr Mandla Gagayi, UWC Director of Sport, just told me that in that Banyana Banyana squad of 22 players, 50% of them came from UWC. Today we are very proud. We say to our Banyana Banyana African Champions, well done. You have brought honour to UWC,” said UWC Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius.
Gagayi revealed that the success story of the university’s contribution to the national set-up did not come by chance. “Remember in 2016 when we said we will deliberately put our resources together to develop women in sport, we were not just talking because the results show today,” Gagayi said.
Given the history of the university, UWC have always been looked at as underdogs, Gagayi added. “But the strides we have taken today. Actually, we are the leaders in terms of giving opportunities to women in sport,” Gagayi said.
“I think we are one of the unrivalled universities in South Africa because if you look at the numbers of the players in the national team — five current players and six alumni — that is something that can never be taken away from UWC as leaders in terms of giving opportunities to women in sport.”