Co-captain of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana, Refiloe Jane, is in town and wasted no time in doing what she loves best – giving back to the community.
No sooner had she arrived from Italy, where she plays her club football for US Sassuolo Calcio in the Serie A Femminile, than she visited her alma mater, Nkholi Primary School in Pimville, Zone 2 in Soweto on Friday (9 June 2023).
The event, attended by, among others, her parents, wife Christa, former teachers (who have already retired from the profession), was made possible through the support of various sponsors – VW Maponya, Nedbank Maponya branch, Debonairs Maponya and McDonalds Maponya.
Through her foundation, the Refiloe Jane Outreach, she donated football playing jerseys – for both boys and girls – sponsored by her employers in Italy, and also a playing kit for girls involved in netball. In addition, with the help of the Gauteng Department of Sport and Recreation, the school will benefit from the LEGO Schools Programme, also known as the Robotics Programme and its aim is to introduce STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) concepts to learners through exciting activities utilizing the LEGO Mindstorms Robotics kit.
“With the playing kit, the aim is to support and encourage young aspiring footballers and netballers at Nkholi Primary School, and will provide the pupils with the necessary equipment to pursue their passion for the sport and inspire them to reach for their dreams. I was once their age too, and I know how inspirational a new kit could be,” said Jane when handing over the equipment.
“As for the LEGO, this will open up new educational opportunities and help foster an interest in technology and innovation among the students. I would like to thank the school, first for shaping me to be what I am today, and secondly to allow me to come back and share this moment with them.”
Fifi, as Jane is fondly known by many, returns to the South Africa at a time when Desiree Ellis, Banyana Banyana head coach, has just announced her preliminary squad of 36 for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
This will be her second global women’s football showpiece after her maiden appearance four years in France.
The team goes into camp on Monday, 12 June 2023 but the overseas-based players have been exempted – as per the FIFA rules – and will only join camp the following week.
South Africa is in Group G along with Sweden, Italy and Argentina.
On the club front, Jane say they are slowly finding their feet after a terrible start due to several changes in the team.
CentreCircle.online caught up with her after the Outreach programme.
We are back where it all started for you. What brings us to Nkholi Primary School?
What brings us here is the Refiloe Jane Outreach – a foundation that I established with the aim of giving back to where it all started for me. The foundation that the teachers and the school laid in my life to be where I am today means a lot. So, we are here today to donate school shoes, football kit and netball kit, LEGO equipment and also to give out food hampers. So, we want to thank VW Maponya, Debonairs Maponya, McDonalds Maponya, Nedbank Maponya and also the Schools Netball Association for helping with the kit, even Sassuolo FC for helping with the football kit.
How important for you and the RJO to undertake this exercise?
It’s very important to give back to our communities, to give them hope. When we have succeeded in our respective fields it’s very important to go back to where it all started so that the kids and the youth can see that it’s possible – we don’t come from nothing, we come from something and we are trying to make something better for ourselves, so we need to be accessible to the people back in our communities, they need to see that it’s possible to reach any heights that you want to get to if you have the necessary support, if you have the necessary engagements, you can be where you want to be in life.
Just over a month to the World Cup, how are you feeling, and this will be your second World Cup?
With the days getting closer to the World Cup, one is feeling anxious, also because of the announcement of the preliminary squad, so everyone is working hard to make the final cut, it’s not going to be easy, and I know the coach’s job is at its hardest at the moment. But we’ve done our dues and we hoping that the team that’s going to be selected to go to the World Cup know what it takes to be there, we know the goal and the objective of the team at the World Cup whether you’re in the squad or not at the moment, we know what it takes and if one is selected they already know what they need to do to help advance the team forward.
The big FIFA money windfall for the players, your thoughts?
It’s good news, but I can’t talk much about it because it is something I heard in the media, we will wait for the right announcement from the Association. We will have the right conversations with the right people and we’re hoping that everything will be in order at end of the day.
How would you describe your season in Italy?
My season in Italy was a fruitful one, my first season with Sassuolo and we didn’t start very well because of the changes in the team. We have a new team, we also have a lot of international players, so trying to learn the tactics, the language, and the culture was quite difficult for some of the players but halfway through the season until the end of the season we did quite well, and we hope that when you start the season again in in 2023/24 will be much better.
This article was written By Matlhomola Morake for centrecircle.com and relayed by kick442.com as an official media partner.