Shakira is going for goals and glory
“Soccer is more than just a sport. It’s more than just a game. It’s my life,” said Shakira O’Malley, 17, who has dribbled her way to glory.
The Ocean View-born defender has been a regular in the South African Under-17 women’s team and now hopes to help them qualify for next year’s Fifa U17 Women’s Cup.
The event was due to kick off in November but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. South Africa are scheduled to play Morocco in a two-legged tie later this year, with the winner booking a spot to India.
“I enjoy the fact that when I step on to the soccer field, all my problems seem to fade and while playing nothing else matters.
“If you have the correct mindset, anything is possible.
“You don’t have to let your background define who you are,” said the Grade 12 pupil from TuksSport High School.
Shakira made her South African debut last year. Since then, she has represented the U17 side on seven occasions and U19 side on two occasions.
She was part of the team who won a silver medal at the Cosafa Women’s U17 Championships last year.
“The feeling is surreal but it’s the best feeling in the world. At first I didn’t know how to feel, but once it sank in I realised how lucky I am to represent my country.
“Soccer is more than just a sport. It’s more than just a game. It’s my life.
“I’m inspired by Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk who is composed and makes soccer look so simple,” Shakira said.
On the academic front, the Bantwana vice-captain plans to study law at the University of Johannesburg next year.
Her coach at Spurs Women’s Football Club (WFC), Winston Zeederberg, said: “She has always been hard-working, humble, loyal and disciplined.
“When I saw her in action for the first time, I knew that with some guidance she could be a great player.”
Spurs WFC play in the Western Cape Sasol Women’s League.
*Throughout August, the Jellybean Journal will feature women and girls in sport.