Mpho Sekulisa Photo: Supplied
A new dawn has risen in the Free State Rugby Union (FSRU) with the election of Mpho Sekulisa as the first-ever woman to serve on its executive team. She was elected as one of the deputy presidents, together with Jan-Hendrik Cronje, at the union’s annual general meeting on 22 November.
Coenraad Klopper ascended to the influential position of president, replacing Jerry Segwaba – who had become the union’s first black president in 2017. Klopper was the deputy president to his predecessor.
The union has described Sekulisa as a dynamic individual, alluding to her ability and leadership qualities shown during the period she served as chairperson of the Free State Women’s Rugby Association (FSWRA).
Overwhelmed by the recognition given by the union, Sekulisa acknowledged the significance of her election within the bigger picture.
“This is truly a historic moment, and it is wonderful to see progress in the promotion of gender equality in sport leadership roles.
“It is an exciting time for rugby, and my election, as well as participation, can contribute to the growth and development of the sport for women.
“I look forward to embracing this opportunity with great enthusiasm, empathy and a collaborative approach, in order to create positive change within the rugby union.”
Sekulisa cited, among others, factors such as her unique leadership abilities and vision to be the reasons for her election.
“It is likely that people recognise my potential to bring positive change.”
She revealed she had not campaigned to become one of the deputy presidents.
“I would attribute it all to God’s timing. As much as I thought I would have to wait to gain more experience, the council members thought that I would do great,” she said.
Sekulisa has technical knowledge and said she would be learning to master the ins and outs of the administration of the game.
An injury forced her to retire from playing on the women’s team in 2019. Shortly thereafter, she was co-opted to the union’s women’s structure.
“In 2020, while serving on the board, I completed coaching level 1 and 2 training. I was busy with level 2 when I was given an opportunity as an assistant coach for the women’s team in the 2021-’22 season,” said Sekulisa, who is eager to seize the chance to transfer her acquired skills to other women in the union.