BBL PARTICIPANT: Mary-Jane Izaks, Pofadder, Khai-Ma, Northern Cape - MJ

In a Nutshell

Through exposure to SocioTech’s philosophies and strategies, Mary-Jane Izaks has grown in confidence. She has started to take on leadership roles in community sport.

She has a strategic plan for the development of the players in her soccer team and the stadium in which they play. She has begun to envisage a future career for herself in sports administration.

She says…

Add my story! (14)

I did the BBL MyFuture training last year, just before lockdown. I think my confidence has grown because of it. I am a person who struggles with confidence and I don’t always find it easy to speak up, but I know that for where I want to go with my life, I need to get better at that.

One sign that I am growing in confidence is my new position as the secretary of Young Aces soccer team in Pofadder. That is a big step for me. Like I say, I struggle to push myself forward and I am not used to taking on leading roles in my community, but I love soccer and I love Young Aces, so I am pushing through my fears. This is going to be good. It’s the new me!

Nama soccer is the style we play at Young Aces. I mean that we play fast and that our players are fearless. You have to be brave and flexible to play in our conditions. Our fields are sand, not grass, and the ball reacts differently, so players have to use a different style. It is important to keep the ball up in the air. Players who are not from our region might be frightened of our pitches, because they aren’t the best quality, but our players are used to those conditions and they don’t slip or get injured very often.

My dream is to take Young Aces all the way. To see them on TV. To know that when people talk about soccer in the Northern Cape, they immediately think of Young Aces and Pofadder. For that to happen one of the things we need to do is improve our stadium. We can’t expect big teams to come to a rundown stadium. I am getting a plan together to paint the walls around the stadium – perhaps children from the school can help – so that when people arrive they are impressed with us as a team. I am also getting my dad involved. He used to work in maintenance for the stadium, so he knows where the problems are and how to fix them. Again, I think I see the influence of the MyFuture training in this plan to improve the stadium, because it is all about having the confidence to take control and get everyone together to help.

MJ Izaks

"It's all beginning to happen the way we talked about."


I did the BBL training but I think the lessons that I learnt are having an influence on the whole Young Aces team. I take that training into the way that I push the team. I teach the team about the need to be confident, to have respect for themselves and others. I get them to focus on goals – not just on the pitch, I mean life goals. That knowledge is powerful. Everyone in the Young Aces team knows the direction we are working towards.

At the moment Young Aces is something I do for love, but I would like to take soccer administration into a career, because I really love the sport. I saw something on the TV about a woman who has a team in the Northern Cape and I thought perhaps that could be me one day.

I want to do training in sport administration through UNISA. That way I can make my dream my real life. The money for that is a problem, but I have a plan. I like to cook and people say that I am quite good. A friend of my late brother is a chef who works at Spar making salads and we are planning to start a business selling potjiekos and braai broodjies (breads) in front of the tavern over weekends. And when we have matches, we also want to sell at soccer tournaments. My chicken potjie with Coke in the sauce – that one is good! – but it is my afval (offal) potjie that is the biggest hit.

I also like to DJ and I know that music brings customers to any food business. People come because they hear the music and once they are there they smell the food and get hungry and then they buy. So, that is the plan: to DJ and cook and serve food all at once and to use that cash to fund studies, so that I can follow my dream.

The match on Sunday was good. We lost in the final which was sad, but Wings played well and they deserved the home win. Even though we lost, there was a feeling of success, because it was a big mission to get this far and to actually see the matches was like a dream. It’s all beginning to happen the way we talked about.

The second tournament is coming and then Young Aces will be ready, not only to show our skills, but also to show off our stadium. We have come so far already. We can do this.

MJ Izaks
MJ Izaks