Sundowns players Anele Ngcongca and Aubrey Ngoma honour the women that shaped their success

Anele Ngcongca and his wife Linda (left), Aubrey Ngoma with his mom Lebogang.
Anele Ngcongca and his wife Linda (left), Aubrey Ngoma with his mom Lebogang.
Image: Supplied

Mamelodi Sundowns players Aubrey Ngoma and Anele Ngcongca have paid tribute to the women who have had the biggest impact on their lives.

While public adulation comes with the territory in their careers, Ngoma says he constantly applies the same energy, ensuring that his mother Lebogang, who raised him in Hammanskraal as one of four boys, knows he would not be where he is without her sacrifices.

“I make sure my mother knows how much I owe her, how grateful I am every little chance I get. She is growing older now, and that makes it more imperative for me. She played a massive role in shaping the man that I am today. She taught me how to differentiate right from wrong, by setting an example for me. The sacrifices she made to support my dream, her sheer determination to help me go where I needed to go to chase my dreams, especially as my dad passed away in 2018,” Ngoma said.

Having been raised at the opposite end of the country from his teammate, Cape Town-raised Ngcongca has a similar story to tell. In his case, the unbreakable bond is with his late grandmother, who helped raise him in her modest Khayelitsha home.

“My grandmother did everything for me, but above all, she prayed for me. I like to think I was her favourite, and my bond with her was such that when I lost her over 10 years ago I was completely devastated. I went to play in Europe at a really young age, and while this was a blessing, it was hard being away from her immediate support,” Ngcongca said.

Aubrey Ngoma and his girlfriend
Aubrey Ngoma and his girlfriend
Image: Supplied

Like many in his community, the family had little to give materially, but the lanky defender remembers her granny always having treats to give him.

“The love she gave me with the little she had means a lot to me, and to this day, her memory comforts me. One of my biggest regrets is that my grandmother never saw me play on the biggest stage, the World Cup. She never fully witnessed the fruits of her labour and endless prayers,” Ngcongca says.

“My mother Elizabeth, who has been through a lot, tried her best. She lost her first born, my older brother Kholekile, to cancer, and my younger brother Banele was stabbed to death, so I’m all she has left. When I was young, she worked at KFC, and the first pair of boots I had she bought despite money being tight,” the former Genk player said.

“The first thing I did when I started to earn money was buy her a house in Parkland, Cape Town. That was my biggest dream. She is a very strong woman, and I’m proud to be her son.”

Both Ngoma and Ngcongca also happen to have daughters and both spoke of how it saddens them to see the explosion of gender-based violence in the country.  

“I have a two-year-old daughter, Alexa, with my girlfriend who has also been there for me through thick and thin, and to be honest, the current state of our country is not good for women. I long for the day women will be treated the right way - equally. It should not be about parents teaching girls how they should behave to avoid being killed - the lessons should be directed towards boys. I hope my daughter takes me as a role model when she chooses a partner one day. I am concerned for every female in our country, we never know if the women in our lives will come back when they leave the house, and [it is strange where] this barbaric behaviour is coming from,” Ngoma said.

Ngcongca's Linda and daughter Siphosethu
Ngcongca's Linda and daughter Siphosethu
Image: Supplied

Ngcongca, meanwhile, has been with his wife Linda since before fame and fortune came knocking, and they are the proud parents of 10-year- old Siphosethu. Growing up surrounded mainly by women, including his five female cousins, he feels he had a unique look at how to treat women well, which is at the core of his long-standing relationship with his wife.

“My lady stood by me, she would visit me in Belgium throughout my career, and at this point she is way more than a wife to me. She gave me the gift of Sethu. Despite the fact that right now we have lost our touch as men, I hope she grows up to be a strong woman who stands up to be counted, uses her voice to speak against injustice, and is of use to society. I want her to value education, and always remember where she comes from.”   

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