Andile Dlamini is set to make her 50th appearance for Banyana Banyana when they take on Lesotho in an international friendly on Sunday at Tsakane Stadium.
The Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies goalkeeper made her official debut for Banyana back in 2011 when they lost 1-0 against Botswana in an All-Africa Games first leg qualifier at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.
“Gratitude first of all to Joseph Mkhonza, who gave me my first cap. I look back at that match and see that it propelled me to where I am today. Despite the loss, I had an exceptional game and the coach said I have a lot of potential that I needed to work on,” said Dlamini.
“But the biggest lessons from that match was that I never look at negatives but positives in everything I do, and also that I must improve with every match if I want to stay longer in the game, and last but not least that it is never about me but about the team.”
Dlamini will become the only second shot-stopper to achieve 50 caps for the South African senior women’s team after Thokozile Mndaweni [89 caps], who she used to deputise.
“This is just unbelievable, who would have thought I could make it this far? Do you know how difficult it is for goalkeepers to reach this milestone? This has been a long journey, and this is something I have always strived for but never thought I would get there this soon as a goalkeeper,” added Dlamini.
“I am so happy and speechless. I would like to convey my greatest gratitude to all the coaches I have had an encounter with in my career because without them I would not be here.”
Ever since Dlamini made her Banyana debut, she has been to two Olympic Games – London 2012 and Rio 2016 as well as the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWFCON)but didn’t feature as she was the second choice shot-stopper.
However, the Tembisa-born goalkeeper made two appearances in the first game when Banyana made their debut at the Fifa Women’s World Cup, held in France in June 2019.
“Most of all, I would like to say a special thanks to Desiree Ellis for the chance to play in a FIFA Women’s World Cup, more so after I played no part in the 2018 AFCON a few months earlier, but then again what more do you want?”
The 28-year-old will join an elite club of Banyana stars with 50 caps and more. The likes of Bambanane Mbane (52), Thembi Kgatlana (57), Sanah Mollo (73), Lebohang Ramalepe (74), Jermaine Seoposenwe (79) and Mndaweni (89).
Janine van Wyk (170) and includes Noko Matlou (157), Nompumelelo Nyandeni (149), Nothando Vilakazi (133), Portia Modise – retired (124), Refiloe Jane (116), Amanda Dlamini – retired (105, Mamello Makhabane (105) and Leandra Smeda (100).
Dlamini says her actual goal is to reach 100 caps for Banyana. “To be honest my focus has been on 100 caps and I lost count of the 50, so I am very excited to have reached this,” she concluded.
Banyana are currently in camp in preparation for their friendly game on Sunday, kickoff at 15:00.
By FARPost Reporter