The University of the Western Cape (UWC) football star and Banyana Banyana goalkeeper has been so good at keeping the balancing act that, despite her busy schedule, she completed her Bachelor of Education degree in the standard time, joining hundreds of students who graduated on Wednesday.
“It’s never been an issue for me (to balance sport with academics) as I have always been a top performer in class while playing soccer,” Ngobeni said. “I’m presented with new challenges every day, but I always find ways to deal with them. I won’t lose focus when it comes to balancing my education and soccer responsibilities.”
Ngobeni, who has represented South Africa at both Under-17 and Under-20 levels before earning her first Banyana Banyana call-up last year, said she is very excited about her graduation, describing the occasion as “overwhelming”. “I have been waiting for this moment, and it finally came. I’m so proud of myself for the things that I have achieved so far. Everything is going so well for me and I’m very happy about it.”
According to Ngobeni, football has always been part of her life, and it was the sport that opened university doors for her. “I’m here because of football, and all my achievements are because of football.”
AUDIO: Listen to Ngobeni’s reaction after graduating
Riri, as Ngobeni is affectionately known in football circles, has also been a top performer on the field of play, and her heroics were rewarded with the Best Goalkeeper of the Season award at the Hollywoodbets Super League annual awards ceremony at the weekend. She was pivotal in helping the UWC Women’s Football team finish third in the league last season and to be in the top 10 of the best women’s teams on the African continent.
Ngobeni was not the only sports star to graduate from the Faculty of Education today. Others included Luke Vester (former men’s football vice-captain), Anthony Timoteus (athletics star), Wilmedine Boer (netballer) and several rugby players including Justin Theys, Pieter-Steyl Swanepoel (2021 captain), Hendrik Carstens, Rohaan Adams (7s star) and Luke Cyster.
For more images, also all taken by Ruvan Boshoff - UWC Media, please see gallery below.