Friday, September 30, 2022

From the sandy pitches to national team and now student athlete

It has been a long road from playing in the sandy pitches of Tsabong to being national football player and now a student athlete for the diminutive Mexican Girls midfielder Segakolodi Didukanyane.

This past week, the pint sized senior national team player, along with her fellow Mexican Girls teammate Rethabile ‘Letty’ Segojwe, became the recipients of the 2021 Ghodrati foundation athletes’ scholarship.

Under the fully paid scholarship, the pair will now have to juggle the ball and academics as they both pursue a Bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronic engineering at New Era College.

For ‘Nunuberry,’ as Didukanyane is affectionately called, this was a life changing moment. It was a fitting climax for an athlete who, after being discovered in the sandy pitches as a small girl, left her home village and her family and headed to the bright city lights of Gaborone to pursue her passion for football.

Upon receiving the scholarship, she noted that being born and bred in Tsabong, a village which still has very limited resources for a student athlete to prosper, was a challenge on its own.

And that is not all there is to her story. Having represented the country at both junior and senior national team levels, she is now writing her own family history as she is now the ‘first person in her family to study in a college.’

“I am very proud of myself because I am the first person to go to college in my family. Growing up in a village with limited resources is not easy at all, hence I take this moment to thank the Mexican girl’s football team for identifying me, bringing me to their team and affording me this opportunity to study,” she explained.  

Her pride and achievement, as with that of Segojwe, has brought some excitement to her coach and Mexican Girls FC founder Oaitse Moeti, who said he met Didukanyane on a visit in Tsabong, where he saw her play football.

“I saw her play during my random visit in Tsabong and the time I saw her, she was doing standard 7. After her form 3 final examinations I spoke with her parents to allow me to take her in and they agreed to my request and she has been under my care ever since,” a proud Moeti beamed.

The Mexican Girls FC coach was quick to express gratitude to Didukanyane family for entrusting him with their child, adding the family has continuously done all they could to support their daughter’s footballing and academic career.

Meanwhile, Ghodrati marketing and communications director Anderson Nlisana said Didukanyane and Segojwe were two of the only three scholarship recipients identified by the Foundation this year. He said under the scholarship, the two will have an all-expenses paid scholarship to study at New Era College while also pursuing their footballing careers.

He said the foundation was launched in January 2018, and their first cohort of students started class the same year, meaning that some of them have since completed while some are to complete in the next one and half to 2 years maximum.

“The Ghodrati Foundation’s vision is to contribute to the socio-economic development of Botswana. Since its inception, and through the scholarship programme, the foundation has managed to assist Batswana students to access tertiary education qualifications in different fields of study like Construction, Accommodation Services, Travel Tourism and Hospitality, Telecommunications Engineering and so forth,” he said.

Nlisana said since the foundation started its operation, over P2 million has been spent towards the scholarship programme including the just recent of them being the sports scholarship award; which Didukanyane and Segojwe are benefiting from.

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