Ntonga scores a first

FOOTBALL administration in Zimbabwe especially at club level has for long been the preserve of men while women often find their niche in sports such as netball and volleyball.

SUKOLUHLE MTHETHWA
SPORTS REPORTER

The highest club position held by women is that of spokesperson. FC Platinum have  Chido Chizondo as media and liaison officer while Caps United  have Joyce Kapota as spokesperson and community relations manager. These are women who have defied odds by assuming  posts in football clubs.

However, one woman seem determined  to break into the “boys club” and  has scored a first by becoming the first and only chairperson of a Premier Soccer League (PSL) side in Zimbabwe.

This is Musa Ntonga, the chairperson of Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPSC) league debutants Whawha Football Club.

Ntonga will rub shoulders  with other 15 male  chairpersons in the 16-team league.

The perception that football is only a men’s sport seems to be changing as women are now venturing into administering clubs.

Southern Eye Sports spoke to Ntonga to find out how the journey to land the post started.

“I  hold a Level Two coaching Course Certificate which I got under the  tutorship of Gibson Homela  in 2005. I fell in love with football when I was sports officer for Matabeleland  regional headquarters. I was involved with Ntabazinduna Prison Training School team in the Zifa Southern Region Division One League.

“It was exciting to travel  with the team for away matches to as far as Hwange, Victoria  Falls and Beitbridge to team Border Strikers. I got emotionally attached to the game such that I would loudly celebrate  when we won and weep when we lost,” she said.

Her love for football continued when she was transferred to Gweru.

“In 2007 I was transferred  to Midlands Province the home of Whawha FC  which is a sister team to ZPCS Ntabazinduna As a football enthusiast I started following Whawha FC in the league without any administrative position, but an ordinary supporter until 2014  when the club was due to hold elections for the new executive as their term of office was expiring.

“As a marketing person I noted the shortcomings that had made Whawha fail  to excel beyond Division One and decided to work on them and have a go on the top post to run the club,” she said.

She holds a Diploma in Business Administration having specialised in marketing and a B Com Honours in Marketing from the Midlands State University which she completed in 2011.

But as a woman what was the reception like when she announced that she would have a go at the top post at Whawha FC?

“My candidature was met with mixed feelings especially from the then sitting chairperson who felt he couldn’t be challenged by a junior. This then gave me the strength to stand my ground and prove to the world that I was asgood if not better than some men .

“I was voted in as chairperson on February 28 2014 just before the Zifa Central Region Division One League kicked off. I have never looked back since then as proved by clinching the league championship and subsequent promotion into the PSL,” she said.

She faced challenges along the way when she assumed the post, but that encouraged her to work even harder.

“It was a rocky journey with inadequate funding as a  major factor, but we managed to pull through and now I am a proud chairperson of a PSL club.

“I urge women to  take a leaf from my experience  and other women executive leaders. Let us match men in all spheres of life be it academically, physically, socially and even in sports administration of the once male–dominated football,” she said.

Ntonga was on born on  January  25 1976 in Bulawayo and  she is fourth  in family of two girls and three boys.

She did primary education at Nhlambabaloyi from 1982 to 1988  before she proceeded to David Livingstone Memorial Secondary School from 1989 to 1992.

Ntonga has always been a sports­–person as she played netball at school and after.

“I played netball in the school team. I joined ZPCS in October 1995 as a recruit prison officer at Chikurubi Training Depot and rose through the ranks to my current post of chief prison officer.

“I played netball in the ZPCS national squad as a goal defender. In 2002, I started playing darts. I still play darts in the social league. I was the regional sports officer for Matabeleland regional headquarters from 2004 to 2006,” she said.

Apart from her work and sports, she has two children a boy Thamsanqa and a girl Rudo.

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