Rugby Africa has named Springbok Women’s prop Babalwa Latsha as one of the top-12 leading women in rugby on the continent.
A total of 60 women from 19 countries impressed the judges, but in the end only 12 dynamic women made it on to Rugby Africa’s list, dubbed the #Unstoppables, in recognition of women who have been beacons of inspiration in the game.
Latsha, who made history earlier this year by becoming the first local fifteens rugby player to sign a professional contract when she joined Spanish club SD Eibar Femenino, was the only South African in the group, which features coaches, a board member, referee and club president, among others.
The 26-year-old Latsha has been a pillar of strength in the Springbok Women’s team since making her Test debut on the team’s UK Tour in 2018. Her leadership skills had her captain the team in 2019 in the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup – which doubled as the 2021 Rugby World Cup Qualifier – and the incoming Tests against Spain and Scotland in the absence of regular captain Nolusindiso Booi, who was injured last season.
‘Congratulations to Babalwa for being named as one of the Rugby Africa Unstoppables,’ SA Rugby CEO and Rugby Africa secretary general Jurie Roux said in a statement.
‘To be named among 12 leading women in rugby on the entire African continent is nothing short of remarkable, and given Babalwa’s achievements in the last two years, this recognition is well deserved.’
Commenting on her inclusion on the elite list, Latsha says she is thrilled and it’s a great honour to be selected.
‘It’s always a privilege to represent my nation and country in rugby, and being named among 12 powerful women in the sport in itself is very empowering – not only to me but also for young women in Africa,’ Latsha explained.
‘Rugby is rapidly growing on the continent and it is wonderful to be part of that. My message to other women in rugby is that the sport is a phenomenal vehicle to change one’s life.
‘So, put in as much effort and work as you can to make your dreams come true, and enjoy your rugby as much as possible.’
Rugby Africa #Unstoppables:
- Abigail Kawonza (Zimbabwe) – Board member, match official coach and referee
- Babalwa Latsha (South Africa) – Springbok Women’s and international player
- Christel Janet Kotze (Namibia) – Coach and TV producer
- Donatienne Rasoampamonjy (Madagascar) – Coach, coach trainer and club founder
- Fatma El-Kindiy (Botswana) – Communications and project manager
- Ella Paule Guei (Côte d’Ivoire) – Referee
- Fatou Camara Sene (Senegal) – Administrator and communications manager
- Rafatu Inusah (Ghana) – Board member and educator
- Peris Mukoko (Kenya) – Board member, educator and match official
- Samiya Ayikoru (Uganda) – International player
- Sanaa Barakat (Egypt) – Player
- Wejdane Limame (Tunisia) – Citing commissioner and club president.
Photo: Gallo Images