“Giving up is not an option”, these are the words, Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies Goalkeeper Coach, Sean Louw, 26, lived by as his goalkeeping future looked blurry after being hit by a car while riding his bike on his way to school in 2010.
“When I had my second operation (to remove the nails) in September 2011, I sat at home, wondering what I could do while I couldn’t move my body the way I wanted to,” he explained.
The 26-year-old says continuing football was not even a choice so the next best thing was to coach.
“With my little knowledge of football and goalkeeping, I went to Grey College, my former school for 13 years, and asked if I could help out with coaching. I had previously been a goalkeeper for the school, my coach told me to take care of the goalkeepers. And that’s where the journey started,” he added.
Louw, was also eyeing opportunities in other clubs as his intention was to grow as a young goal keeper coach.
“I went to Roses United Football Club training session and asked if I could help out and learn the basics of a goalkeeper coach, Simon Gopane was the goalkeeper coach at the time and I admired their professionalism, especially considering they were an amateur club. They allowed me to stay there for a while and when the chairman bought Bloemfontein Celtic, he assigned me to the Ladies Team, that didn’t have a goalkeeper coach,” he added.
Louw then later met Desiree Ellis, the Banyana Banyana head coach. He told her about his work experience and told her to call whenever she needed a goalkeeper coach, as fate would have it, it so happened that Banyana was going to play a World Cup Qualifier in Bloemfontein and that’s when the young coach got his break with the women’s National team.
“I was involved in 15 games and we conceded 8 goals in that time. I won the Cosafa Cup and of course, a much-valued silver medal at AFCON,” he said.
The most exciting part of his Banyana experience is that his first ever camp was in his hometown and he celebrated his 26th birthday with the team a day after they had qualified for the World Cup.
“The goalkeeping department we had there was very tight and we learnt so much about each other. It was amazing to witness the work being done by Thembi Kgatlana and Coach Desiree Ellis that led them to winning the big individual awards that they won in the continental award ceremony,” Louw added.
He said that it was an honor for him as a young coach to be a part of the team of the year.
“I am honored to have been trusted with such a huge role in a huge team and I’ll forever be thankful to coach Desiree Ellis for fast tracking my career. In a nutshell, my Banyana journey was a dream I wish I never woke up from,” he explained.
As a person who is also working in the development structures in the South Africa, he feels that we are moving in the right direction, because the average age of female footballers in this country is getting lower and lower.
“We have seen an 18-year-old player going to the World Cup with Banyana and in our Celtic team, we have a 13-year-old that has already played in the National Playoffs and won Young Player of the Tournament,” he said.
His goals as a development coach are fuelled by his own career as a goalkeeper coach.
“At only 26, I can say I’ve qualified for the World Cup, I’ve won silver at the AFCON and I’ve won the Cosafa Cup. That’s got to say something about the development in this country,” Louw added.
He says his all-time favourite goalkeeper in the world is David de Gea.
“I love David, not only because I am a Manchester United supporter, but because many goalkeepers in the past have been criticized for not using their hands and instead using their legs to make saves. That very same attribute that people usually criticized, has seen De Gea win Manchester United’s player of the year for three consecutive years and in all honesty, he salvaged the little bit of respect left in a big club like Manchester United,” he said.
Louw received his Caf C License this Saturday, 10 August 2019 and says he wants to wants more coaching badges.
“I hope to see myself with a CAF A License as well as be a regular in the National setup, whether it’s junior or senior national teams. I also hope to see myself breaking away from Bloemfontein and plying my trade in the bigger teams in the country.” he concluded.