NELSPRUIT – The maturity that Noxolo and her twin sister Sinoxolo Cesane play with in their fourth successive Sasol League National Championships is a double-edged sword according to the 18-year-old Cape Town Roses midfielder.
The skilful twins won over many hearts in their first appearance in the championships in 2013 at Klerksdorp in North West. The twins were 13 years old at the time but held their own against opponents older than them and twice as big. The following year in Port Elizabeth they were instrumental in Roses winning the championships for the first time.
“What I remember from 2014 is how we celebrated winning the tournament,” Noxolo says with a big grin. “It was a great day. We really worked hard that year. We told ourselves that we are going to win it and we did it.”
Roses will appear in another final on Saturday after they thumped the hosts Coal City Wizards 4-0 at Kabokweni Stadium on Thursday. Roses will meet the reigning champions Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies in the final. Celtic also booked their place with a 4-0 win, defeating Thunderbirds.
“I feel normal,” Noxolo said about appearing in her second final in four years. “We expected to reach the final. We reached the final because we have faith in our coach and he has faith in us. It’s a very strong bond that can help us achieve anything that we set our sights on.”
Noxolo is animated and insightful when she speaks. A large part of that is thanks to the education she picked up at the High Performance Centre (HPC) in Pretoria. The twins left Fezeka High School in Gugulethu to study and importantly play football at HPC in 2013.
“Football and education go hand-in-hand,” Noxolo said. “I remember when I joined the HPC, I couldn’t speak English. But now I am fluent. I know a lot of things. I have grown as a person. I met people from different backgrounds. It wasn’t nice to leave home, especially at a young age. But when you know what you want to achieve, you take every challenge on the chin because you know it’s for a good course.”
Noxolo and her sister Sinoxolo weren’t as dynamic as they were in 2014. This year they played with a lot of maturity.
“Sometimes being matured counts against you because when you are young, you play without inhibitions,” Noxolo said. “You play your heart out because you are playing for fun. It’s easy for the crowd to like you because everyone likes an underdog.
But when you are old, you start being cautious in everything you do. You think what if this pass goes astray or what if this is the wrong move. When you are young, you don’t have such thoughts. You don’t think that anyone can stop you, when they do you brush it aside and look to outsmart them with the next move. We have been trying to find the right balance between being clever due to our maturity and playing without any inhibitions like we did when we were young.”
A wrap-up of Thursday’s Results
7th place play-off: Kanatla Ladies (Limpopo) 2-1 De Scorpions (North West)
Diski Queen of the Match: Gift Kgosamang (Scorpions)
5th place play-off: Sunflower FC (KwaZulu-Natal) 1-0 Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies (Gauteng)
Diski Queen of the Match: Sduduzo Dlamini (Sunflower)
1st semifinal: Cape Town Roses (Western Cape) 4-0 Coal City Wizards (Mpumalanga)
Diski Queen of the Match: Yonela Mbirha (Roses)
2nd semifinal: Thunderbirds (Eastern Cape) 0-4 Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies (Free State)
Diski Queen of the Match: Boitumelo Rabale (Celtic)
3rd place play-off: Coal City Wizards (Mpumalanga) vs Thunderbirds (Eastern Cape) - 11.30am
Final: Cape Town Roses (Western Cape) vs Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies (Free State) - 3pm
Njabulo Ngidi is in Nelspruit courtesy of Sasol