If you love soccer and have like-minded colleagues who love it too, why not start your own team right here at the NWU?
Proudly NWU… the Black Pumas in the back are from left Nkopane Moletsane, Mokgadi Mantje, Moss Letshwenyo, Dumisani Makhoba, Tebogo Makgale, Lehlohonolo Chachu, Jerome Mathiba, Odirile Mosiane and Shepherd Mthethwa. In front are Samuel Mamathuntsha, Kabelo Mareli, Melvin Segrana, Alpha Dolopi, Mario Chauque and John Molefe.
Aubrey Fransman, geography lecturer in the Faculty of Education,
is one of the executive committee members of the Black Pumas.
you’re not alone
If you love
This is what the Black Pumas did, with help from the university’s Wellness team.
It all began when a group of soccer fanatics from the Faculty of Education on the campus in Potchefstroom decided to be more active and started playing football in front of the B5 and B6 buildings.
They reached out to other staff members across the campus and eventually they approached NWU Wellness, who then sponsored their various soccer needs and arranged for them to have a training area at the university’s sports grounds.
Today the Black Pumas consist of about 30 players of all ages, who regularly play matches against teams from the Defence Force, the Department of Basic Education and the Agricultural College, among others.
“Everything is practice,” Brazilian soccer star Pelé once said. True to these words, they practise hard and often, thus applying one of the tenets of the football faith – the dedication to plenty of sweat.
What’s in a name?
But why do they call themselves the Black Pumas?
Could it be reminiscent of the Black Pearl who decades ago was one of Brazil’s most popular exports? Was the team named after that soccer hero who elicited the adulation of crowds the world over, as they chanted the two syllables most synonymous with the beautiful game: Pelé?
“He is indeed my favourite player ever,” says Aubrey Fransman, geography lecturer in the Faculty of Education and one of the executive committee members of the Black Pumas. “But I have no idea how the guys came up with that name!” he adds laughingly.
Going for more goals
The team members want to put the Black Pumas on the map – they say people should know about them.
This is not the only goal they have in sight for staff sport at the NWU. The team members on the campus in Potchefstroom would like to join their Mafikeng colleagues in the Southern African Universities Staff Sports Association in the near future.
Through Wellnes they have already started a women’s soccer team and a netball team, and would like to start a cricket team too.
“I love cricket,” Aubrey says before pausing. “Although … after the last three games I don’t think I love cricket that much anymore,” he jokes, referring to the Proteas’ three consecutive losses against England, Bangladesh and India in the ICC Cricket World Cup.
To quote the Black Pearl again: “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”
These words encapsulate everything the Black Pumas stand for. And they are just getting started.