LIMPOPO –Â The 35-year-old is the daughter of chief Samuel Muhlava II of the Nkuna people outside Tzaneen and a player-founder of a female soccer team called Muhlava Buffaloes, which has three divisions for girls, adults and elderly women.
Gadasar, who has represented the country and province in netball and karate, said her immediate goal is to launch a female soccer team in every community in all 42 villages in the area, followed by their own league.
“Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and it is time for women to enjoy it and reap its benefits. Our female soccer team is helping to keep young girls off the streets and to fight social ills such as teenage pregnancy. Playing the games also keeps us healthy and fit,” she said.
Gadasar, who is a self-employed massage and beauty therapist, said she started playing a variety of sport while still a learner at Hudson Ntsanwisi Secondary School.
“I represented the school in provincial netball tournaments and while studying to become a beauty therapist, I fell in love with the sport of karate. In took part in a national tournament in 1998 and the following year, I was selected to represent South Africa in Japan,” she said.
After a stint of jobs in Europe, Gadasar returned to her community last year and decided to launch a female soccer team after realising there were no community sports for women.
“Soccer is still regarded as a male sport, so there was a lack of enthusiasm in the beginning.
“I remember using a loudhailer to call women to the soccer field for a practice match, but only five pitched up. I had to embark on a door to door campaign, visiting women at home, to explain the benefits of playing the beautiful game.
“The next thing I started asking for donations of soccer balls and kits from local business people, and their response was positive.
“Today, we are the best organised female soccer team in the area. We still share the village soccer field with the male team and our immediate goal is to have our own soccer field,” she said.
Gadasar said plans are also underway to start karate classes to teach women basic self defense skills.