The passion one has for sport is something that can’t be explained. It is a feeling that would need to be experienced. Unathi ‘Nutty’ Mabena, a JVW veteran most definitely lives this passion and has been with the football club since 2016. After a successful career as a football player, Mabena has finally decided to hang up her infield boots in exchange for her coaching boots.

Mabena has been has been appointed as the JVW first team assistant coach and will be coaching side by side with Coach Arthur, and joins forces with Coach Kirsten and the U14 Team.

Taking the field at the age of 8 in Katlehong, Mabena started playing with the boys and although she played many other sports and excelled at them, soccer was always the sport her heart had longed for. Her football journey overall has been an enjoyable one and as with most players, she’s had her fair share of ups and downs and has learnt lessons through the joys and hardships.

Through football, she has been able to travel throughout the country and abroad and with these experiences has learnt to understand different people and personalities, cultures and beliefs which has enabled her to engage and understand people better.

Unathi Mabena (left) warming up with Indira Albuquerque in the HWB Super League

Nutty joined the Blue Diamonds in 2016, where she was part of the squad that won the Gauteng Sasol League for the first time and finished in second place at the Sasol league National Championships, held in Mossel bay where the team lost 1 – 0 to Bloemfontein Celtic. Just 3 years later, in 2019 she was again part of the #BlueDiamonds team that won the Gauteng Sasol League, as well as being crowned the SASOL League National Champions, gaining promotion to the newly launched Hollywoodbets Super League. Mabena, who donned jersey number 24, made her debut in the National league and scored her first goal in her last match for the team, adding a bit more excitement and joy to her illustrious playing career.

When asked what advise she has for aspiring football players she responded with:

 “I know this sounds cliché, but nothing beats hardwork, commitment, dedication and sacrifice. To get to the highest level you have to do extra work and not just rely in what you do at team training. You have to be committed and dedicated in order to improve. The coach is there to provide guidance and assistance where you need. You have to sacrifice a lot if you want to reach the top.”

Transitioning from being a player to a coach can be a tough task to start, but Unathi is more excited than ever. She is ready to learn all that she can from newly appointed Coach Arthur and is prepared to help the players improve on their performances. With the first team having played their first full season in the Hollywoodbets Super League and finishing 4th, the aim is to improve on where they have left off and with what looks like to be a tougher season approaching, Coach Nutty is ready to take on that challenge along side Coach Arthur.

‘Nutty has really been a great addition to the club, both for the first team and throughout the development structure. She was the Reserve team Head Coach for a few years, before fully focusing on her final year of playing, of which she made her debut in the Hollywoodbets Super League, a dream for many footballers who have dedicated their lives to the sport. Nutty shows such passion for the game, and is willing to continue to grow in the sport by completing her coaching badges and being open to learn both on and off the field.

We would like to thank Nutty for her invaluable contribution to the club and the sport, and wish her all the best in her new role as a Coach” – JVW Co-Founder, Lauren Duncan