The business brain Karabo MathangTshabuse
Karabo Mathang-tshabuse is one busy 30 year old. The first woman to be recognised and licensed as a soccer agent by the SA Football Association (SAFA) and a presence on the BBC UK’S list of 100 Women of 2015, her day starts at 4am and includes law studies at Wits University, running her soccer agency, P Management, and parenting two daughters Lufuno (eight) and Lutendo (six) together with her husband Josy.
The Soweto-born entrepreneur was raised by soccer-loving parents, attending her first match at five, but her hobby turned serious during her university studies in media and international relations.
“I used to go to games with Josy (now my husband) and my friend Nonhlanhla Nkosi, and with so much soccer talent in SA, the three of us saw a business possibility in our passion. We started P Management in 2007 – we played around with words like ‘pro’ and ‘player’, and ‘P’ was the compromise – hosting coaching clinics and recruiting players,” she says. “Nonhlanhla was a marketing manager at Kaizer Chiefs, and helped us book coaches for clinics.”
A year later, she took things to the next level, completing a FIFA exam that gave her official agent status. When Nonhlanhla left P Management to pursue other interests in marketing, Karabo and Josy set up offices in Joburg’s Newtown. And then, in 2014, she began studying law, so that she could be expertly informed in her work.
“My job involves scouting and signing up talent, pairing our players with clubs, and securing sponsorships, and that involves all kinds of legal issues,” she says.
As for sexism: “Being a woman in this male-dominated world meant people didn’t always take me seriously. But there were also benefits in that, as I stood out and seemed intriguing. It’s great to have opened the door as the first female soccer agent. Now I want to mentor, share my experience and see more women enter the industry.”