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21 June 2018 | in NUSF News

Universiade motivation at African regional tournament

Biyana Kholosa in a short respite from training. Image Credit, SAFA © All Rights Reserved

For South African women’s footballer Biyana Kholosa, impressing selectors ahead of next year’s Summer Universiade in Napoli is added motivation for success as her side prepares for the upcoming Confederation of University and College Sports Association (CUCSA) Games this week.


The biennial competition – set for its 19th installment this year – pits ten countries in the southern African region against each other across various sporting codes, with Botswana playing host to the event this year which runs from 18-22 June.


And making a second appearance at the Games is University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) footballer Kholosa, who is hoping for a repeat of her side’s gold-medal success of two years ago.

Biyana Kholosa is in the second year of her sport science studies, after completing her diagnostic radiography degree in 2016, and plays on the senior national football team. Image credit Backpagepix © All Rights Reserved

Kholosa, a talented midfielder who went on to debutise for South Africa’s senior women’s national football team after her impressive CUCSA Games showing in 2016, hails from the small, dusty town of Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape province, where her two older brothers played a major role in her love for football while growing up.


After completing high school, Kholosa moved to the metropolitan city of Durban on South Africa’s east coast – 500km away from home – where she graduated as a diagnostic radiographer in 2016, yet her undeniable love for sport saw her enrol into UKZN, where she is currently in the second year of a Sports Science degree.


Yet having made major strides forward in her footballing career, turning out for her university and country in both regional and international fixtures, the 23-year-old admits balancing her studies and sport is no easy task.


“These have become the hardest years of studying,” she says. “I just got into Banyana Banyana (the senior national football team), I have league games, USSA (University Sports South Africa) Games and now the CUCSA Games to play, which means I am missing out on school. But I always make sure no day passes without me not going to the library. I have to always make sure I am ahead with my studying and finish my assignments very early.”

Biyana Kholosa on the football competition pitch. Image credit Backpagepix © All Rights Reserved

Kholosa was part of the South African university team that achieved gold at the CUCSA Games in Zimbabwe two years ago, and under the guidance of her own university coach Thinasonke Mbuli, who led the women’s team to success two years ago, is confident the ladies will defend their crown.


“The team we have this year is not the same as last time, but that does not change the fact that we are defending champions,” she said. “We have the same coach, and we are all looking forward to the tournament and we will work together as a team to make sure we do well.”


Yet adding to the motivation at this year’s tournament is the opportunity to impress selectors ahead of next year’s Summer Universiade in Napoli. Kholosa was part of the South African side that finished fourth in the ladies football tournament in Taipei last year, and hopes she will do enough to secure her spot on the plane to Italy with her teammates next year.


“I hope the experience I have from the Summer Universiade will also have a positive influence in the team,” she says. “We will all work hard, try defend our cup while knowing that there is the Summer Universiade again next year, where we would all love to make an appearance. God has his own plans, but faith is very important because everything happens at its time through God's will.”


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