THE UNWAVERING spirit of determination comes in the form of the Springbok Women’s Sevens rugby team captain Zintle Mpupha from Mdantsane near East London.
The 25-year-old Middledrift-born Mpupha has been leading the Lady Blitzbokke team since 2017 after an invitation to join the squad.
“Being selected as a captain of the Lady Blitzbokke was a huge surprise for it was never in any of my dreams. I’m a very quiet, shy and reserved person. I never thought someone with those qualities would be leading a South African team,” she said.
She described herself as being “lucky” to captain a team of talented and experienced women.
The human movement science graduate from the University of Fort Hare made a choice to study rather than play rugby after being offered a contract with the Lady Blitzbokke team in 2014.
“In 2014, I got offered a contract, but I had to choose between the contract and finishing my studies. I chose to go back and study because I wanted to have something to fall back on,” Mpupha said.to if anything happens with rugby,” said Mpupha.
She has played for the provincial rugby under-18 sevens teams right through to Border women’s rugby at sevens and 15’s levels.
In 2013, she made the Springbok women’s U20 team that went to the Nations Cup in the UK.
Mpupha has been involved in sports from an early age.
“I started with cricket in grade 8. Mr Koko Godlo played a huge role in my sport career. He made me join Willows Cricket Club, even supplying me with all my need such as equipment and cricket boots, as well as and supporting ed me in every way he could,” she said.
In the same year, she made the Border cricket U19 girls team, then moved onto the Border women’s team, as well as SA U19 girls team.
She counts Makhaya Ntini as her role model.
Speaking on women’s professional sports vs male sports in SA, she said there is a wide gap between the two.
“We’re never exposed like the men’s teams. Also, the incentives gap is very far apart between us and the men,” Mpupha said.
On the suspension of the Border Rugby Union by the SA Rugby Union, she described it as a “huge setback” for the younger generation.
“I’m just hoping and praying and hoping that SA Rugby reconsiders their decision – also for the sake of case of women’s rugby as whole, because the Border Rugby Union has produced some Springboks,” she said.
She lives by the motto to never stop dreaming, and to have faith and belief in them – as well as education.
“Hard work goes along with faith and the belief you have in your dreams.
“Nothing worth having comes easy in life. Never ever quit on your dreams,” Mpupha said.