Thalea, Rhoda and Andisiwe celebrating after winning 2021 CAF Women's Champions League© Samuel Shivambu - BackpagePixAuthor: Kamokgelo MalingaWe are taught at a young age to focus on our studies, work hard and ensure we prioritize education. However, at some point in our lives we face the reality that we need to manage our time to achieve our goals, whether we are working part time, playing a professional sport or just managing a household. This is not an easy task in any walk of life. There are some players at Mamelodi Sundowns who have mastered the skill and shared their guidance on how to balance studying and playing for a professional team.The Digital Magazine crew had a chat with Mamelodi Sundowns players, Thalea Smidt, Rhoda Mulaudzi and Kabelo Moagi, about juggling education and sports simultaneously and how important education is for footballers and athletes.

Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies Team and Banyana Banyana player, Thalea Smidt holds a BSc in Biotechnology from the University of Western Cape, a BSc Honours in Plant Sciences and a PgDip in Entrepreneurship from the University of Pretoria.
Thalea Smidt during a Hollywoodbets Super League match© Sydney Mahlangu - BackpagePixThe skillful midfielder shared how she prioritized her studies as a student athlete, “I did my best to manage my time but it was difficult especially when the team was travelling on away trips. I took my books with me and devoted time to study, did my assessments and tutorials whilst in camp.”

“Education plays an important role in my life as a female footballer, it has laid a foundation in expanding my knowledge and way of thinking. Football is a short career and we need something to fall back on”, said Smidt as she commented on the influence of education in her life.
Thalea mentioned that she is continuing with her studies and has enrolled for a Diploma in Coding and Technology through the Mamelodi Sundowns Upskillist program.

How do you balance a career as an athlete alongside studying? The Cape Town born player shared her top three pointers to get started when balancing education and football:
  1. Discipline
  2. Time Management
  3. Learn how to prioritize
Academy star midfielder, Kabelo Moagi, who has recently matriculated spoke about the importance of education and his plans to study further, “I am intrigued by Psychology because it is a diverse and broad field. A psychology degree would allow me to pursue careers in both arts or science fields depending on where my interests lie. One day I could become both a coach and a psychologist. At a later stage, I would also be interested in studying business management.”

Kabelo mentioned that football players are often challenged mentally, physically and emotionally. To overcome these obstacles, he believes players abilities to make rational and informed decisions comes from how educated and self-aware they are.
Sundowns Ladies attacking-midfielder, Rhoda Mulaudzi© Sundowns MediaBanyana Ba Style’s Striker, Rhoda Mulaudzi, believes that education does not only equip you better in football but also provides you with lifelong skills and knowledge. Rhoda has acquired a Diploma in Sports Management and a B-tech in Business Administration from the Vaal University of Technology.

Rhoda opened up about what inspired her to study Sports Management and Business Administration, “What motivated me to choose these fields is my love for sports in general. I felt that I was on the right path choosing to study Sports Management especially because I want to have my own Sports Academy for boys and girls.”

Having played for Canberra United in Australia, Apollon Ladies FC in Cyprus and Dinamo Minsk in Belarus, the striker talked about how education has proven to be important in her career and life as a footballer, “having played internationally, education has helped me communicate better whilst in different countries, understanding diversity and analyzing different situations.”

The 2021 CAF Women’s Champions League winner highlighted the significance of working closely with lecturers and mentors when studying. She explained that developing a rapport with them can assist in obtaining valuable guidance on managing academic workload and effectively planning your schedule.

The ability of these football players to manage their time should relate to anyone wanting to further their education whilst possibly working or juggling any situation in life.
The critical element is understanding the importance of education, the impact it can have on your life and ensuring you prioritize and find the time to achieve your goals. If the Mamelodi Sundowns players are able to achieve this despite their hectic schedule, there is nothing stopping you to achieve your dreams.

The Sky Is the Limit!