Project Playground’s (PPG) administrator in Gugulethu and Langa, Lutfeyah Abrahams, says women have the power to develop local communities through sport.
A passionate soccer supporter, Abrahams is the chairperson of Mitchell’s Plain’s Liverpool Portland FC, serves as a secretary and a treasurer of the Mitchell’s Plain Local Football Association, and is one of a few women to be a part of Safa Cape Town and Safa’s provincial and national structures.
Abrahams has more than 26 years experience in local football, since starting as a typical “football mom”, who would take her children to the soccer field. After years of watching, learning and applying her motherly instincts, she now advocates for more women to get involved in the sport.
She says what coach Desiree Ellis’ Banyana Banyana did earlier this month, by lifting the Cosafa Cup for the sixth consecutive time, and a job well done by the four women officials who officiated in this month’s English Premier League Super Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool, are signs that women are capable of doing anything they put their minds to.
When Bulletin visited Abrahams at PPG’s homebase in Gugulethu last week, she was surrounded by a friendly group of mothers who spend their time volunteering and helping some of the disabled youngsters. Abrahams said these dedicated women keep her motivated and inspired.
“We have the skills and if we do it properly we can make a change. ‘Unity is a form of success’, that’s our motto at Liverpool Portland.”
Abrahams says there is a major gap in local football, which can be filled through unity, and women have the power to steer it in the right direction.
“Cape Town used to have a lot of players in the national squad. If they are not on there, it means there’s something we’re not doing right. It all starts at grassroots level.
“Football is a tool we use to steer the players away from social ills.”
“We need to up our game to get our soccer on the map again”.
Abrahams says local football associations have a lot of teams that can combine to form one strong team.“We can’t have 30 to 40 clubs in one LFA and still have poor football.”
Abrahams says heraimis toinspire women, saying they should get out of their comfort zones because they can do anything.
“In most of the general council meetings I’m usually the only woman that stands up and speaks, which is sad. We should challenge ourselves,” she says.