Last year, three Sasol League and Banyana Banyana players Rhoda Mulaudzi, Refiloe Jane and Leandra Smeda signed their first international contracts. Smeda joined Lithuanian giants Gintra, while Jane and Mulaudzi journeyed together to Canberra United in Australia.
The players’ experience in playing women’s football abroad has helped them bring in a new perspective to the national team.
“Having played in Australia, I can say that I’m a totally different player. It’s interesting to see how my style of play transformed at this year’s Cyprus Women’s Cup compared to previous years,” said Jane, Banyana Banyana vice captain.
“Playing abroad has really pushed me to play better football because the standard is so high. But I must add that playing in the Sasol League and for Banyana Banyana has helped me prepare against some of the best teams in the world.”
The Cyprus Cup had a mixture of new and experienced Banyana Banyana players. This formed part of coach Desiree Ellis’s plan to test new players and see how they perform against top teams.
“Playing oversees has definitely been an eye opener for me as a woman footballer who came from the Sasol League. Once you are exposed to playing with and against teams abroad, there’s so much you learn. I’m happy to have made it to this year’s Cyprus Cup and share my bit of experience, especially with new players that were there for the first time. It feels good to have something to pass on to my fellow teammates,” added Mulaudzi.
“Today, a girl like me, who grew up in the villages, is able to inspire others and share her experience. For me, that is what being Limitless is all about, and it’s things like these that wouldn’t be possible without support from companies like Sasol.”
Although Banyana Banyana did not obtain the results they had hoped for at the 2019 Cyprus Women’s Cup, they have succeeded in their mission to build a stronger team – a team that looks forward to representing South Africa at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France in June.
“It’s such a privilege to have a chance to play oversees, especially in a World Cup year where one can really use their experience to enhance their performance. It is life changing because now when you play in tournaments such as the Cyprus Women’s Cup, you know the kind of opponents you are facing. Experience really is the best way to learn,” said midfielder Smeda.
The Capetonian recently signed her second international contract with Swedish team, Vittsjo GIK and has already joined the European side.
“I’d like to give credit to Sasol as well because the Sasol League taught me to believe in myself and be Limitless. Now I get to participate in some of the best leagues in the world, competing against world class footballers,” she concluded.
Banyana Banyana will face Jamaica in an international friendly next month (7 April 2019) at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban as part of continuing preparations for the World Cup.
In May they will be away in the USA to take on the defending world champions.
For more information on the Limitless initiative and to show your support, search #Limitless on Twitter or YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jMRZ_CJR3Y
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