Over the past two years South Africa has seen a rise of female footballers moving abroad from the local league.
Banyana Banyana has been one of the best teams on the African continent over the past decade and with Safa launching a local Women’s League it seems it’s just the beginning of the rise of the women’s game in the country.
Nothando ‘Vivo’ Vilakazi started her professional career at Moroka Swallows before moving to Super Falcons in Tembisa. Her first move abroad was to Lithuanian top flight side Gintra Universitetas where she won the league and cup double alongside compatriot Jermaine Seoposenwe who now plays for SC Braga in Portugal.
In the recent transfer window, the 32-year-old moved to Spanish Primera Division side EDF Logrono and she feels it is a great opportunity for her as a player.
“I got a new team in Spain called EDF Logrono, it really means a lot to me. I’m very excited about this move it will not only grow me as a player, but it will also open doors for other South African players,” she said.
The Middelburg-born left back feels qualifying for the FIFA World Cup really helped for most players to get contracts in Europe and showcase South African talent.
“It has helped us a lot, the World Cup is indeed the biggest stage you can showcase your talent. With so many players getting deals across Europe this will help the team when it comes to match fitness, technicalities and bringing in different experiences,” said Vikalazi.
After her exploits in Lithuania the defender wanted to take a bigger step in her career and Spain is a good level to play against the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and other big clubs in the country.
“Moving to Spain is a big achievement for me at my age (32), it shows that hard work pays. It’s also proven to me that I should never give up on my dream. With hard work, determination and prayer, everything is possible.”
Asked about what it meant to play in the FIFA World Cup, she said it is the best moment of her career so far.
“Playing in the World Cup is my biggest career highlight, it is definitely the top level in football. After that it has to be the Olympics which I also participated in and then definitely my move to Spain which is a top league here where I play amongst the best players in the world,” concluded the Banyana star.
Vilakazi is a well-established Banyana Banyana international with 131 caps earned since making her debut against Ghana in 2007.
She has scored 7 goals in national team colours so far and is the obvious choice down that left side of defence. The defender has played in two Olympics with South Africa in London 2012 and Brazil 2016.
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By Prince Sobayeni