Meet Gorases the NFA girls’ centre matron

By Michael Uugwanga

EVERY club wants its players to be well looked after when they are off the field and in Namibia, the Namibia Football Association girl’s centre in Windhoek is responsible for taking care of out-of-town female footballers when they are off the pitch.

The boarding house which caters for young players from outside the capital, who are attached to clubs in Windhoek- is situated in Katutura and run by a matron, the dedicated and respected Irene Gorases, who works tirelessly despite the challenges that come with her line of work as a supervisor of young females.

Gorases who is in her 40s is viewed as a mother figure by her 12 teenage mentees and has been working as matron at the NFA girls centre for the past two years. She is responsible of making sure that female footballers staying at the facility receive the best meals and are healthy, and are on time for training and matches; amongst other duties.

Confidente Sports Desk caught up with Gorases to find out about her vital role.

“My duties as the matron include preparing food for the girls and preparing the boardroom for meetings, amongst others. In a nutshell I am the caretaker of the centre. Working at the NFA girl’s center is an amazing experience for me as I get an opportunity to meet a lot of people with different types of personalities from all walks of life, although it’s an enormous responsibility with challenges. Working with teenagers has taught me a lot of patience.

“My passion for working with young people and the satisfaction it brings me is to see them prosper and achieve both their long and short term goals and this makes me enjoy my job. I am always looking forward to tomorrow and its challenges. As the matron I can proudly say I am proud of each one of my girls and the women they are becoming,” she said with a smile.

One of her favourite players staying at the center is 16-year-old Tura Magic Ladies football club sensation Beyoncé Cloete, who she describes as one of the funniest girls at the centre.

Cloete is one of the girls staying at the centre while at the same time schooling. The facility provides the residents with tutorial classes and it contains a library.

Said Gorases: “All the girls at the center make my day by putting a smile on my face especially Beyoncé Cloete. The girls are all special individuals with different personalities and characteristics hence; they are all my favourites in different areas, however there is one young lady Veronica van Wyk, who is currently the head girl at the centre. She is disciplined and has an amazing personality, and serves as a great leader and example to the other girls.

“I do not face challenges apart from the normal day-to-day teenage girl challenges like every other household. Growing up I was never intrigued to play football or any other sports but having been surrounded by football players on a daily basis I have come to love and understand the sport. They are disciplined, outspoken young women with bright futures both in football and other areas.”

Gorases has also been a support structure for the girls during the Covid-19 pandemic which affected the players emotionally and physically.

“The Covid- 19 pandemic has not affected me in any special way. However, it has affected the girls academically and socially as they were unable to attend school and were also unable to socialise with their friends like on a normal basis,” she said.

The NFA girls’ centre is a project by FIFA designed to help young talented female footballers reach their full potential, with age groups from U-8 through to U16.

The centre is also tailored to give female players the best opportunity to progress technically as footballers and to help them develop socially and psychologically.