The 2016 Gauteng Sasol League was extremely competitive as no match was a guaranteed win, even though we had confidence going into each game we also knew that we needed to work hard and put in the extra work just to make sure we win the league. I was happy with our overall performance and of course my own, which led us to the National Championships, representing the Gauteng Province.
The National Champs is a great experience for any team, as you get to learn a lot and understand the style of football that the teams in the different provinces use. I am extremely proud with how the championships ended, even though we did not win the tournament, we gained the best experience especially for our younger players in the team, who I believe really outdid themselves. The confidence that they are displaying now shows that they have learnt a lot and I personally think that this was our greatest achievement in 2016.
Going into the 2017 season, we were all rearing to get started after our fantastic show in the previous year. In our first few games in the league we managed to bring home maximum points which was a good sign of continuity. Going into the TUKS game, I felt strong as I had been performing well, but that was the game that put my 2017 campaign on hold. I made an overlapping run from the back towards the goal, when I was tackled by the TUKS Defender. I just remember screaming for help, with tears streaming down my face. I knew it wasn’t a small injury. The pain was excruciating and I could feel it all the way up my leg, but I just prayed that I would be ok and it wasn’t too serious. After being rushed to hospital and receiving the bad news that I had two clean breaks in my leg, I just couldn’t come to terms that this was the end.
At that time, I just wanted to forget about soccer, as the only thing I felt was emotional and physical pain. I started reflecting on the great 2016 season I had and just when I started enjoying my football again and giving my all, this happens. I kept thinking that maybe I should forget about playing soccer and rule myself out.
On the day of my surgery, I spent a few hours thinking if people who don’t know me believe I can play again. JVW recommended the best Orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Human at the Olivedale clinic, who reassured me that there would be a possibility that I could play again. I started being positive, thinking that I have been down this road before and came back stronger, and now I need to do the same. Many thoughts went through my head but the one that stuck out was how Dylan Shepard, the Bidvest Wits Midfielder, who succumbed to the same injury as me is still playing now, so what can actually stop me?! My team, JVW and of course my family continuously reminded me of how strong I am and how soon I would be back on the field, which kept me sane. The surgery was a success and on my regular visits to the surgeon, he always reassures me that my road to recovery will be a successful one, and of course he knows best.
Now 4 months post-surgery I am able to cycle daily for 15 minutes which is starting to help in the rebuilding of my muscle in my leg and to get movement as well. The one thing I personally believe has helped me through this injury is my Positive attitude and mind-set. The fact that I see and feel wanted by my team to be back better and stronger than ever is definitely another factor.
I am looking forward to joining my team for field training mid-October and should be able to join my team full time in 2018 for the new Sasol League season.
My advice to players struggling with injuries, is to never rush your healing process. Take time to heal and see medical personnel who will help and guide you to full recovery. Be patient and remember the talent of football is in you and no one can take that away from you.
– JVW First Team Defender, Rosa ‘Nana’ Nzima #13