Growing up in the small town of Okakarara in the Otjozondjupa region in the southwestern African country of Namibia, football sensation Veweziwa Kotjipati never dreamt she will one day play professional football in Germany.
The 27-year-old Namibian international reminisces on her upbringing to campaigning in one of the world’s most professionally ran female football leagues.
“I did athletics and I was very good. One day our school soccer team needed some players to help out at a soccer match and they asked me to step in and help out. I was even barefoot but I just played as a striker and I wasn’t really good in the game, but I had so much fun and from there I just wanted to play football,” reflects Kotjipati.
She continued with athletics but also played for the school soccer team and went on to play for the JS Football Academy in Namibia.
“It was amazing, especially as a young player. It moulded me and the club also had good coaches, the organisation was professional and it was just the right set- up for any young girl,” she adds.
She believes the academy was not only focused on improving their football skills but also had so many opportunities to learn about life skills. “I am so thankful to coach Jacqui Shipanga for creating this club. We had so many beautiful memories and the fighting spirit was so high,” she reminisces.
The versatile defender, who is a vital cog for Namibia’s women side the Brave Gladiators, believes that playing in Germany for Borussia Mönchengladbach is a life-changing opportunity for her and she’s proud to be representing her country at the world stage.
“Borussia Mönchengladbach is one of the most historical clubs in Germany. For me, it is just such a big privilege to play for them. This club is of another calibre. The club has a lot of young players, but great talents. This season we were in a position to be promoted in the first Bundesliga,” she excitedly adds.
The Namibian native says that the Covid-19 pandemic has stopped everything and she’s anxious about the decision that may have to be taken.
“With the coronavirus, everything is just ruined and if it has to do with games being won on the field, then it is really unfair if decisions will be made against us. For now, we are just waiting to see what is going to happen. We are also not sure if the league will continue to be played or not,”
She also spoke highly of Namibia’s national women’s team, saying it’s one of the best on the continent and one of the greatest teams the country has ever had.
“Being part of the Namibian women team is my greatest honour. I am just so thankful for every opportunity. I really want to win something big with this national team. This is one of Namibia’s best group and we could achieve so much. I am so grateful to be playing with talented players like Zenatha Coleman,” she says.
Kotjipati has never dreamt of playing abroad as she didn’t think she was good enough but says getting this [playing in Germany] opportunity has boosted her confidence.
“I never dreamt of playing football abroad. I thought I wasn’t that talented, but I am hardworking and I always do my best to improve and now I feel like I am at my level best. I have grown so much as an individual, but also as a player. I am now a role model and I want to live up to that”
She believes that Women football can still grow if the leaders of African football can invest more in young girls.
“I think women football in Africa has grown. The leaders in African football can do more to improve the game for women. Let the girls play more so that we can have equal opportunities like the men. If I compare it to Germany then I know we need to do more in grassroots football, but on top that the girls must play as more as possible,” she adds.
Kotjipati says her advice to young girls who play football is to dream big. “My advice to young girls out there is to never limit themselves. In life, everything is possible as long as you set yourself goals and remain disciplined,” she concludes. - nozibusisosibiya.co.za
2020-05-05 09:25:15 | 27 days ago