Limpopo’s Gogo Maria jets off to play soccer in France

Gogo Maria Munyai is on her way to pass, dribble and hopefully score a goal in France. Gogo Maria was selected as part of the National Elderly soccer team who will play soccer matches in France from June 7, reports Polokwane Review.

Munyai said she kept herself healthy by training twice a day and playing soccer, because she believed it was a good way of staying fit and it also relieved stress.

“I was overjoyed when I received the news that I was selected to play overseas,” she said.

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She started to play for a gogo soccer team in 2014 and currently plays for Mashau Kuvhanganani’s old age team. Because of her skills, she has stolen the hearts of many gogo soccer teams in the Vhembe district. She plays in the midfield and teaches young children how to play the game.

“I’m happy old people, in partnership with the department of health and social development in Limpopo, are participating in different activities to keep them healthy. Local clinics are also treating us, by checking our blood pressure and offering medical treatment,” Munyai said. Her ambition is to establish more gogo soccer tournaments, to keep the older players busy.

She said she was excited at the opportunity to play in France. “I know I will be exposed to a new environment, but as someone who possesses self-respect, I will focus on my games.”

The trainer and organiser of the trip, Risenga Mkhabele, said they selected players from around South Africa and that they received donations from patrons in France. He said the old women were a true example of women empowerment, because they showed that there was no longer a sporting code for a certain gender.

“You keep your bodies healthy and you must remember that a healthy body, has a healthy mind. These elders are shunning the stigma that goes with old age. Let’s do away with the idea that elders are supposed to sit at home, doing nothing until sunset. Soccer was previously for young men, because it needed someone with strength and power. We are very proud of these old ladies, because they have shown everyone that nothing is impossible.”

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