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‘White woman’ makes waves coaching men in South Africa (South Africa)

Women’s football is becoming more and more popular. But a white female coaching a men’s team, and a township team at that, is unheard of.

But Tracy Pepper has broken the mould. In the past season, she guided Alexandra United to a second place finish in the ABC Motsepe league, the third tier of South African football.

Thirteen years ago, Pepper saw a need to train her daughter, leading her to complete a German Federation A-license and a SAFA level three Pro-licence.

Pepper says, “I think football chose me more than I chose football ’cause it is a hard industry, whether you’re a man or a woman. If  you’re a coach and you lose, it’s your fault.”

The 51-year old mother faced criticism from fans and rivals alike, and even though she wanted to quit at times, her passion for the game ensured she didn’t allow her critics to get the better of her.

She said, “I’ve been sworn at badly, told I belong in the kitchen, women don’t belong in football, what are you doing here? The insults are endless but, like I said, I try not to focus on the negativity.

“I focus on the people that are in my life that are positive I focus on the players that give me compliments.”

Although Pepper would like to see more ladies become involved in coaching football, she did not become a coach to promote girl power, but for the love of the game.

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