Mulaudzi’s ‘amazing’ Australia and Cyprus journey

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Born in Tshimbupfe Malonga, Venda and raised in Soweto, Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies striker Rhoda Mulaudzi earned her ticket to France – 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup with Banyana Banyana following her impressive debut season for Canberra United in Australia.

However, Mulaudzi’s contract with Canberra came to an end just before Banyana’s first ever World Cup appearance and the Downs Ladies forward describes her spell in the Australian top-flight Women’s League as one of the greatest seasons in her football career.

“Brings back good memories, the excitement. The amazing time that I had in Australia. Our 2018/2019 was one of the greatest seasons in my football career,” said Mulaudzi.

“Finding myself signing a professional contract for the first time in my football career. It was amazing, it was great. I signed with Canberra United playing the W League, one of the biggest leagues in the world,” – Mulaudzi. 

“Being coached by coach Heather Garrick, a smart and intelligent coach who understand the philosophy of football. I enjoyed my time that side. The Australian people are very supportive, loving and caring. Whenever we were playing our home games, the stadium is always packed. The supporting system is very good,” she added.

The Limpopo-born player says Australian people love women’s football and are very supportive. “They came in numbers to support us and cheer and scream for us – it was good. Hearing the voice of supporters always gives you the energy and courage.

“I still remember very well; I was awarded the Supporters Player of the Season. I became Canberra United top goal scorer – it was amazing.”

Mulaudzi admits that she didn’t know what to expect when she arrived in Australia with fellow Banyana team-mate Refiloe Jane.

“It was something new to me, playing in a professional league. I had to adjust, because everything there is not the same as playing in an amateur league. You have to think fast, you have to be physically and mentally strong and being organized, act professionally, think professionally and it was not easy – it was tough.”

Despite her good form in the colours of Canberra, Mulaudzi left the club and couldn’t finish off the Australian season due to personal reasons.

But shortly after Banyana’s disappointing World Cup campaign in France, the striker signed a one-year long deal with Apollon Ladies FC in the Cypriot First Division, which is the top tier of women’s football in Cyprus.

“It was great, it was good. It happened that I only signed for a year, and then from there I went to Cyprus, where I played in the UEFA League. The experience was good, I enjoyed it, even though I didn’t finish the season because of some personal reasons, but I enjoyed my stay overseas,” she said.

“I learned a lot, the experience that I got that side, both in Australia and Cyprus, helped me a lot. They helped me figure out who I am and find myself. ”

“It brought my confidence back, as you can see now, in the 2019 / 2020 National Woman’s League, I became the top goal scorer, with 36 goals, so I learned a lot,” – Mulaudzi. 

“The experience that I got that side, I am using now, and I know that it is going to work for me, until I decide to retire,” concluded Mulaudzi.

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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi 

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