“I want to inspire other women to understand that it’s okay to be a woman in football.”
So says football coach Tersia Davids, one of six coaches from across Africa chosen as finalists who will stand a chance to participate in English Premier League giant Arsenal’s new Future Stars youth coaching programme. These final six coaches have competed in a public vote for the chance to attend a fully sponsored sojourn at Arsenal Soccer Schools in London.
Davids, who was born and bred in Steenberg, Cape Town, is the only woman in the group.
The programme is sponsored by money transfer company WorldRemit, which has partnered with Arsenal for this initiative.
The six coaches were chosen from a short list of 25 hopefuls, who were selected by a judging panel last month.
Voting was conducted online over a week and closed on Friday. The winner will be announced as soon as the votes have been tallied.
“I will be very honoured as a woman to be a winner,” said the 21-year-old Santos player, who turns it out in the Sasol Women’s League.
“I didn’t think I would get this opportunity because I just started coaching last year.”
Davids, who trains about 20 young girls at Islamia College in Lansdowne, Cape Town, said she saw the call for entries on social media after a friend told her about it.
“We had to submit a one-minute video explaining why we should be chosen to participate in the programme,” she said.
On being pitted against top coaches from other parts of the continent, Davids said she didn’t know any of them personally, so she was unable to gauge who was her strongest competitor.
A key focus of the chosen coach’s training at Arsenal will be on how they will use the opportunity to build a lasting legacy in their home country.
The finalists have been selected based on the strength of their existing contributions to the community, as well as their plans and ability to pass on their new skills when they return home.
Davids said her Lansdowne charges were still learning the basics of the beautiful game. She is fully confident that she can help them become better players.
I find purpose in doing this because, in our communities, there are so many bad influences such as gangsterism and drugs.
Tersia Davids, Islamia College coach
A graduate from Eta College, which offers education in sports and fitness, Davids has a diploma in sports conditioning and personal training.
She believes that, despite South Africa not having a professional women’s soccer league, she will still be able to become the best coach she can be.
The other short-listed coaches are Adegun Shola John from Nigeria, Ahmed Ali from Somaliland, Hamisi Mohamed from Kenya, Innocents Yeboah-Num from Ghana and Titus Tongesai Sanangurai from Zimbabwe.