South Africa: Royal Knights FC Enjoying Their Football in Mpumalanga Sasol League

Formed in 2011 by an ambitious young visionary, current Mpumalanga 'Stream A'Sasol League log leaders Royal Knights FC, are enjoying their football and keeping their feet firmly on the ground.

Hailing from the football-mad Gert Sibande region in the Lekwa Local Football Association (LFA), the team finished a credible sixth last season and have plans in place to improve on that this time around.

Safa.net spoke to club founder and owner Deni Shabangu who shed some light on the teams season thus far, their new coach and her own personal thoughts on the women's game.

"We are trying hard this year. We have a lot of youth within the squad as most of our players were born around 2002. However, the exuberance of youth seems to be helping us and we are doing okay so far. We have created a happy environment and implored our girls to just enjoy themselves and try their best this season," said Shabangu.

She also stated just what a huge difference hiring an official coach has made.

"I used to train the girls on top of doing everything else but I have now hired a coach to take over. His name is Mandla Ndlovu and he has attained his SAFA D-License certificate. He also has a background working with ladies and you can see that they relate to him. This takes the pressure away from me as I can now focus on the administration side of things and making sure everything is in order for each game," she said.

The bubbly owner also added that the team aims to play in the national league but are taking things one game at a time. She also stressed just how much having a two-stream system has aided her team.

"The dual-stream system really helps us as well as other teams. It is much more affordable, especially in terms of traveling around a big province. It is a much better method unless a financial injector steps into the fold," added Shabangu.

However, the most interesting aspect of the interview was Shabangu's views on the women's game as a whole.

"The female game is very important to football in general. My wish for it is to grow and be treated equally to the men's game. We need more televised matches and of course more sponsors such as Sasol. The potential is there for greatness as you saw in the recent world cup. We now see a more tactical mind-set in the ladies game and technical skills too. All we need is for it to be nurtured and attended to. We need to push ourselves but are on the right path though and any female who wants to get involved should just go for it," concluded Shabangu.

The team next take on second-placed Lotsa Stars FCon Sunday, 28 July at the Ezikonjaneni Sports Grounds at 13h00.

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