Faa-Iqah Hart­ley

Mend­ing fences with her fa­ther as she fol­lows in his foot­steps

Kick Off - - INSIDE - BY BUSISIWE MOK­WENA | Twit­ter: @Bu­sisi­weMok­wena

Hav­ing a par­ent in the lime­light usu­ally comes with pres­sure on the child to be­come as suc­cess­ful or to fol­low in their par­ent’s foot­steps. Things don’t be­come any eas­ier when the par­ent and child share the same pas­sion. They are of­ten com­pared and pit­ted against one an­other. For­mer South African Un­der-23 in­ter­na­tional, Ju­naid Hart­ley, used to mes­merise op­po­nents with his skills but his jour­ney was cut short when he fell into the trap of recreational drugs. The drugs didn’t just cost him his ca­reer, but also put in dire jeop­ardy his re­la­tion­ship with his el­dest daugh­ter, Faa-Iqah Hart­ley. This is her story …

Faa-Iqah Hart­ley has limited mem­ory of her fa­ther’s hero­ics as a player. Ju­naid turned pro­fes­sional at age 16 and went on to play in Por­tu­gal for Vitória de Setúbal and RC Lens in France. Faa-Iqah says she re­calls lit­tle of the time Ju­naid was a house­hold name but she re­mem­bers how she felt when peo­ple asked her how her fa­ther was do­ing. “I was re­ally small [young], I don’t re­mem­ber much,” Faa-Iqah says. “But I think he did well for him­self in terms of his foot­ball un­til ev­ery­thing went down­hill. I think I have only watched one of his live games in my life. That was when we took a trip to Malaysia. I was nine at the time and I don’t re­mem­ber that much.” Faa-Iqah, now a Univer­sity of Johannesburg cen­tral mid­fielder, says dur­ing her fa­ther’s drug abuse pe­riod their re­la­tion­ship suf­fered im­mea­sur­ably. “I was ashamed of it, even though I didn’t have a good re­la­tion­ship with him at the time be­cause I hardly saw him. When peo­ple used to ask me how he was or if he was still on the stuff, I didn’t know what to say be­cause at the same time he re­mained my dad and I didn’t want to make him look bad in front of ev­ery­one. I would tell them I don’t know,” she says. The 19-year-old said that see­ing Ju­naid less helped her; she didn’t get to see how he was de­stroy­ing him­self. Ju­naid’s fam­ily worked hard


in hav­ing the two re­united so that they can build a re­la­tion­ship. “I spoke to my mother a lot about it and then there was a time she stopped me from see­ing him. I think that helped a lot. I kind of for­got about him but my grand­fa­ther would come and tell me that I need to speak to him [her fa­ther]. I think not see­ing him helped me a lot be­cause I didn’t have to wit­ness what was go­ing on,” she adds.

In Au­gust 2016 KICK OFF, Ju­naid

told KICK OFF that he was liv­ing on hand­outs, af­ter fall­ing off the radar. His ad­dic­tion af­fected his daugh­ter so bad that they couldn’t have proper fa­ther-daugh­ter con­ver­sa­tions. Faa-Iqah re­calls that in some of their talks her fa­ther would veer off the topic they were dis­cussing and speak about things that were to­tally ir­rel­e­vant. “Some­times it was so dif­fi­cult to speak to him with­out him speak­ing of stupid stuff,” she says. “He was obsessed with the moon, that’s all that he ever spoke about. He be­lieved that he moved the moon and the sun. He was just hal­lu­ci­nat­ing so badly.” A good fa­ther-daugh­ter bond is im­por­tant, es­pe­cially in how the girl child re­lates to oth­ers in her fu­ture re­la­tion­ships. In spite of ev­ery­thing, Faa-Iqah is in a process of mend­ing her re­la­tion­ship with her fa­ther. She says their Fa­ther’s Day in­ter­ac­tion has helped im­prove how they con­nect. “It [the re­la­tion­ship] has changed so much. I chat to him al­most ev­ery­day on What­sApp. This year was the very first time I wished him a happy Fa­ther’s Day. This year was also the first time I got a proper hug from him. My aunt told me that he ac­tu­ally cried on Fa­ther’s Day. Now, he brings me to soc­cer when my mom can’t – some­thing that had never hap­pened be­fore, even when he was okay,” she says.

Fi­nally hav­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion

bar­ri­ers be­ing re­duced be­tween the two, their re­la­tion­ship is slowly re­cov­er­ing. How­ever, it will take a lot of work to re­build what was lost over the years they have been apart. Faa-Iqah stresses that the more she meets her fa­ther one-on-one, the stronger their re­la­tion­ship will be. “It’s a good feel­ing to ac­tu­ally have my fa­ther play his role in my life be­cause my mother has been play­ing both parts. There are times that he asks if I can go to my aunt’s to visit him, like dur­ing the hol­i­days, and we’d spend the week to­gether and I would go with him to train­ing.” Al­though things seem to be go­ing so well, so much so that her fa­ther some­times gives her tips and feed­back on some of her games, she feels that they shouldn’t rush things. As a ris­ing foot­baller, Faa-Iqah can use her fa­ther’s jour­ney to avoid the pit­falls that many ath­letes fall into. She says that they don’t speak about how her fa­ther got into the world of drugs or how it im­pacted his ca­reer. “I learnt that ar­ro­gance will take you nowhere,” Faa-Iqah says. “No mat­ter how good you are, you should never take it to your head. You have to re­main hum­ble. The minute it goes to your head and you start chas­ing money, that’s when ev­ery­thing goes down­hill.” Al­though she doesn’t re­mem­ber much of her fa­ther’s play­ing days, she says she’s been told she does play like him. She, how­ever, doesn’t be­lieve she is as skilled.

Many would have thought that

Ju­naid in­tro­duced his daugh­ter to the game but she ac­tu­ally used to ac­com­pany her mother, Na­dia Moosa, to her games. They played to­gether for Palmeros FC, an am­a­teur club in Florida, Johannesburg. While Moosa played at right back, they would have FaaIqah on the left. When Moosa hung her boots up, she en­cour­aged FaaIqah to con­tinue with the sport. “My mother used to take me to in­door soc­cer. I played for a year or so un­til I re­alised that the field was too small. That’s how I started play­ing 11-a-side. When I started mak­ing it into district teams I felt that maybe I am good enough to go some­where. That’s where it all started for me. I think my mom was bet­ter than me. She ac­tu­ally pushed me to con­tinue,” she re­calls. Faa-Iqah feels that she is un­der a bit of pres­sure to do well be­cause her fa­ther was con­sid­ered one of the best of his gen­er­a­tion. She reck­ons there would have been more pres­sure on her had she been a boy. She be­lieves play­ing for UJ has opened doors for her to blos­som. She is hope­ful that she will start her in­ter­na­tional ca­reer soon with the na­tional women’s Un­der-20s. Faa-Iqah was part of a week-long se­lec­tion camp un­der coach Maude Khu­malo ahead of the Fifa Un­der-20 Women’s World Cup qual­i­fiers, which kicked off in Au­gust. She un­der­stands that it won’t be easy break­ing into the team be­cause of the stiff com­pe­ti­tion in the camp. “I didn’t play the po­si­tion I am used to. They played me on the wing and I am used to be­ing in cen­tral mid­field, but I think I did well. I started as a de­fender in my early days but then they told me I was be­ing wasted there,” Faa-Iqah says.

(Be­low) Faa-Iqah train­ing with her UJ Ladies team in Johannesburg, where she plays as a mid­fielder.

(Above) Faa-Iqah’s mother, Na­dia Moosa, guided her through her early steps both on and off the field.

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