#TuksFootball: A promise to her father is the reason why Wendy Shongwe is playing football again and scoring goals

Posted on May 29, 2023

A few years ago, Wendy Shongwe promised her dad she would take up football again after she finished matric at TuksSport High School and formed part of the TuksAthletics Academy.

She kept her word. In 2021, she was back on the field. It did not take long for her natural talent to come to the forefront. The same year, she was awarded Women’s Varsity Football Player of the Tournament. This year, she got a call-up to the Banyana Banyana team, which flew to Serbia.

Those following the Hollywoodbets Super League are not surprised. Shongwe is a goal-scorer moving up the ranks. The past weekend, against Ma-Indies Ladies, she scored a hat trick for Tuks. In the 14 games played, Shongwe scored a total of eight goals. Her tally is nearly a third of Tuks's total goals so far. The team's goal tally stands for now at 25.

The story of Shongwe's return to playing football has a nice human touch. One of her earliest sporting memories was chasing after a football in the streets of Daveyton. She was holding more than she was playing against the boys. But her talents were not restricted to dribbling and scoring goals. She was also an avid middle-distance runner. She quit playing football in high school because challenging the stopwatch over 800 meters gave her a bigger thrill.

In 2017,  she won bronze with second all-time best (2:13.86) in the girls' 800m at the South African School Championships in Durban. The whole time she was running, her dad "begged" her to start playing football again. That is when she made the promise. The COVID national lockdown turned out to be the clincher.

"I put on weight during the lockdown. It impacted my self-esteem. I knew I had to get active again. I did not want to start running again. Athletics is, at times, a very lonely sport. Most times, you have to motivate yourself to push the limits.

"So I started playing football, as I promised my dad I would. It was the team aspect of football that did it for me. It is exciting to be part of a group of girls who have the same goal and are prepared to push each other to be the best. It is a case of one for all and all for one."

With such an attitude, it is no surprise that the Tuks have been going from strength to strength over the last four weeks in the Hollywoodbets Super League. The team has won its last three games and played to a draw once. It has led to them being seventh on the log. There is a real chance they could win again over the weekend against First Touch. It is an away game.

Shongwe is, however, not taking anything for granted, saying that in the Super League, there is no such thing as an easy game.

As to what her best attributes as a player are, Shongwe said it is her positive mindset.

"I don't believe in ever giving up. To me, no game is ever won or lost until the referee blows the whistle for the final time. Officially, I am not the captain, but I pride myself on motivating my teammates at crunch moments."

- Author Wilhelm De Swardt

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences