This coach will al­ways have your back

Daily News - - METRO - | Story cour­tesy Beau­ti­ful News South Africa

BE­FORE the game ends, the mem­bers of Noku­lunga Mvand­aba’s net­ball team al­ready know they are win­ners.

The coach has not only taught them how to score goals but how to build up each other’s self-worth.

She knows the dif­fer­ence sup­port can make. While at univer­sity, some­one Mvand­aba trusted sex­u­ally as­saulted her. As with many women who go through this, she was emo­tion­ally vul­ner­a­ble and un­able to deal with what had hap­pened. “I felt like I had no one to speak to,” Mvand­aba says.

“It re­sulted in a lot of self-de­struc­tive be­hav­iour.” Turn­ing to al­co­hol and drugs to cope, her life spi­ralled down­hill as she moved fur­ther away from her fam­ily. The ex­pe­ri­ence had robbed Mvand­aba of her sense of pur­pose. That changed when she picked up a net­ball, and her life.

This year, Mvand­aba joined CoolPlay, a Lau­reus Sport for Good ini­tia­tive, and be­gan re­build­ing her life. Us­ing her skills, Mvand­aba men­tors the youth while coach­ing net­ball across schools in her home town of Khayelit­sha.

“This pro­gramme has helped me re­alise my lead­er­ship qual­i­ties so I can bet­ter oth­ers and my­self,” she says.

On the court, Mvand­aba is en­sur­ing that these play­ers never have to go through what she did. “Ter­ri­ble things hap­pen to women and we of­ten don’t know how to speak about them,” she says. “I think a lot of girls could use the sup­port.”

Through coach­ing, Mvand­aba has cre­ated a net­work for the youth to talk about their ex­pe­ri­ences, and emerge stronger.

By build­ing their sports skills, tu­tor­ing them, and work­ing through their goals with vi­sion boards, Mvand­aba is help­ing her team ful­fil their po­ten­tial.

With ev­ery game, their con­fi­dence soars. And as they bond, the girls find sup­port in each other, dis­cover their in­trin­sic value, and learn to speak up.

“I think South Africa needs to find ways of bridg­ing the gap of com­mu­ni­ca­tion so that women can re­alise their worth,” Mvand­aba says. Her work goes beyond the bounds of the court. Through the game of net­ball, this coach is prov­ing a valu­able les­son: we are stronger when we stand to­gether.

News South Africa | Beau­ti­ful

COACH Noku­lunga Mvand­aba.

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