Q & A with Gareth Ncaca
SAFA CAPE WINELANDS BRINGS YOU GARETH NCACA, A FORMER PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYER-TURNED COACH.
This week we get to know a Mbekweni born former football player who has donned the colors of Seven Stars,Ajax Cape Town Free State Stars, Bay United, Mamelodi Sundowns and Moroka Swallows to name a few. We had a chat with the Cape United FC award winning assistant coach.
NM: Let me start by congratulating you on your Cape United FC Technician of the year award. Please does this accolade mean to you?
GN: First of all, thank you very much for having me. It means a lot,it shows that hard work pays. I have been working very hard and i have also been loyal to the club.Money doesn’t drive me, I’m still the same person i was as a player, I just love the game. To be awarded at this level really means a lot.
NM: Take us back to where it all started, what made a decorated Gareth Ncaca we see today?
GN: My football journey started in Mbekweni ko-M, that’s where i grew up,that’s my humble beginnings. I always go back and i look at the park in front of my house because it all started there. I was fortunate that my parents had to move to KwaLanga because that is where i got better opportunities.In Mbekweni we do not really get opportunities compared to Cape Town with its best academies and the football clubs.Moving to KwaLanga gave me more opportunities but of course it wasn’t easy for me to breakthrough.I still had to get used to the place so every weekend instead of looking for a club i would go back to Mbekweni and continue playing there,until i asked to join a family club called Babes United. I started to be a hit KwaLanga and earned respect. What really drove me was Mbekweni because i never lost sight of where i come from. I became a professional player because i moved around, looked for opportunities and i was dedicated. I got a chance to join Seven Stars Academy and from there i just pushed really hard,i impressed Gavin Hunt and was signed.
NM: What a journey! What is your most memorable moment in your career?
GN: It was when i signed my first contract with Gavin Hunt then joining Ajax. Coming back from after a difficult time and to win promotion from NFD to PSL with Bay United was one of my most memorable moments. The key one has to be when i signed for Mamelodi Sundowns after a great season with Bay United.
NM: Who would you say was your toughest opponent?
GN: It’s really difficult to choose one from my era but i enjoyed every encounter with all the midfielders in PSL.For me, being from e-Kasi , i never really took note who was the most difficult or easiest, i just went out to showcase my abilities as well as to help my team win games.There were lot of good midfielders that i played against, even in my team they were hard at training.
NM: Looking back, is there anything you feel you could have done differently?
GN: No i don’t. I am grateful for the opportunity from the man above, to represent my family and my community and to do what i love so much.
NM: When you look at the where it all started for you, would you say the conditions have improved in terms of development?
GN: Looking at Mbekweni, i could say a lot has has improved because there are teams that are playing at higher level but in terms of development we are far off. We should do more in our own townships, take the youngsters out and expose them. We need to have programs that not only focus only on football but also to work on self esteem. Some of these kids lack confidence and that contributes to them giving in to peer pressure. We need to make them understand that there is a bigger world they need to explore outside of Mbekweni and come back to plough to the next generation. Development is not only about having tournaments, we need to have programs to develop our clubs as well. We can do better.
NM: You are now an award winning technician in a professional level. Was coaching always on the cards for you? Was it your plan to go into coaching after retirement?
GN: Not really, i just always wanted to give back. I was so inspired by coach Desmond Crowie who is now with Maties. He is my mentor, a guy that encouraged me and i like his coaching style. I wanted to give back what i have learned then i started to enjoy coaching. I didn’t know that by giving back i would love it so much. I got an opportunity to work at Project Background in Langa , i started to do my badges and taking coaching seriously. My plan was always to stay in football and give back. At the moment I’m enjoying it.
NM: STILL ON THE NOTE OF GIVING BACK, PLEASE TELL US ABOUT GARETH NCACA FOUNDATION.
GN: Gareth Ncaca Foundation is about creating opportunities for the young boys. We host tournaments, helping coaches expose the talent. COVID-19 has derailed us a bit but we plan on hosting a tournament again this year. We know these kids want something to look forward to and get a chance to be stand out and be seen.The plan is to expand to Mbekweni ,my birthplace, a place i still get support from even though I’m no longer playing.
NM: Before we let you go… What is your message to the aspiring youngsters who want to make it in football?
GN: First and foremost you have to love what you do because the hard work comes from the love and the passion, if you love what you do you can be the next Gareth Ncaca, Andile Mbenyane and Luvuyo Memela. Know that you have those two things that will drive you. Be disciplined, be passionate and have something that drives you to achieve your goals.For me it has always been the passion and the llove that really drove me because i knew i had nothing else beside football, i am where i am because of football. In whatever you put your mind to whether it’s football, whether you want to be a teacher or a doctor,you have to work hard for it and take the heats as well. The road is not going to be smooth because there are a lot of us that want the same thing,you just have to work hard,be disciplined, be dedicated and be committed. You have to lose out on the “cool” stuff that is out there in order to achieve the goals you have set out for yourself.
NM: Thank you so much for your time coach and all the best for your future projects.
GN: Thank you for having me.
if you would like to know more about the Gareth Ncaca Foundation please contact Gareth Ncaca on garethncaca@gmail.com or 0681131230.