Eastern Province women off to play in German tour

THE Eastern Cape Women’s Soccer team jetted off from the East London airport yesterday on their way to Germany for a 10-day tour of Lower Saxony.

The tour was made possible thanks to the twinning agreement between the federal state of Lower Saxony and the Eastern Cape provincial government dating back to 1995, and reviewed and signed in 2004.

The agreement saw TSV Eintracht Immenbeck tour the Eastern Cape, playing teams from the different regions.

The Eastern Cape team will play TSV in two of their three games in Germany, as well as second division team Wolfsburg. One of the key functions of the tour will be to strengthen international relations between the two countries and to make a good impression so the agreement will be strengthened and many more tours will be possible.

This will be a massive opportunity for the 15 young women and their coach, who on top of enjoying a fantastic tour and experiencing a different culture, will get the chance to market their skills and talents in the country.

“It is a great opportunity – it is a good chance for the girls to show their skills,” team coach Ayakha Gqoboka said. “My wish is that one or two of these girls will be noticed and be able to go back to Germany and play professionally, while I also would like to coach nationally, so this is a great chance for us.”

The girls were selected for this tour at the Premier Games provincial tournament held in Port Elizabeth in December.

The final selection was made at trials on March 9.

The team, made up of players from around the province, has only one East London player, Siyamthanda Skeyi, who is also captain of the team. Skeyi, 21, is a multitalented sportswoman as she also plays for the very impressive Border women’s rugby team.

“My captain is very good, she played in my team last year against the German team and she played very well, so I think she will do great in Germany,” Gqoboka said.

The youngest member is Anelisa Ndyebi from Port Elizabeth, who is just 15 years old, but has already impressed enough to be included.

“These girls are very good, all the girls are ready, they are fit mentally and physically and hopefully we will do well,” Gqoboka said.

At the send-off dinner at the King David Hotel on Monday, the Premier Games theme, from grassroots to glory, was echoed by various speakers. – Ross Roche

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