PUMA Football caught up with Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies Team midfielder Bongiwe Thusi for a Q&A.
Tell us a bit about where you were born, where you went to school and how you became interested in football?
I was born in Thembisa, Johannesburg and I attended Kunana Primary School and Masisebenze Comprehensive School. The reason I got interested in football was because the majority of kids in my street were boys and they played football so my one other girl friend and I both joined in with the boys.
What do you love about the beautiful game?
The fun and it keeps you away form the negative things and the fact that I get to express my feelings through my dribbling
What are your strengths as a player?
I am fast, I can takeon people and I can read the game well.
Who has been your biggest inspiration in life and why?
My dad has been the inspiration because he has been supportive throughout my life and my football career. He told me to join the women’s team as a winger because he also played winger back in his Jomo Cosmos days.
Who has even your biggest influence in football and why?
My dad as he always came to my matches and gave me instructions. He also coached me at home.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Just to be myself and always do what I do best and have fun doing it.
What advice do you have for young girls who dream of becoming a footballer?
Get an education. Work hard and have respect.
How often do you get to train as a team?
We train two or three days a week.
What other fitness or skills training do you do and do you have a fitness coach or fitness plan you follow?
I follow a fitness plans laid out by our coach/fitness trainer
Do you have a special diet – what does your regular breakfast, lunch and dinner consist of?
No because it is too expensive to follow such a plan.
What barriers or difficulties have/ do you still encounter as a woman in football?
It would be nice to have women specific playing kit and also to have a professional league
How do your family feel about you playing football – have they always backed you?
My family has always been there for me. When I am down they lift me up.
What are your football ambitions/goals?
To qualify for the World Cup, be a part of that team and make a difference in my country.
Tell us about the highlight of your football career so far?
The team won the Sasol League twice and I won the Player’s Player of the tournament in 2015. I also won the Tembisa Community Award for Best Female Football Player in 2016
What is your biggest disappointment as a footballer?
Losing a match.
In tough times – injuries etc – where do you get your strength?
I get my strength from my teammates and family
Do you play football full time or do you have a job – if so what job do you have?
Yes, I play football full time.
How would you like to see Woman’s football develop in the future?
Have a professional league and receive the same treatment and be equal to the boys.
Has playing football brought about any other opportunities for you? I.e., travel, sponsorships…
Playing football has allowed me to travel and see other countries.
What do you like about being a part of the Mamelodi Sundowns football club?
The Men and Women’s teams are like a family.