Defender Lebogang Ramalepe was one of the few Banyana Banyana players from the 2019 FIFA World Cup squad still plying their trade in the Provincial Sasol League.
But the fortunes have changed for the national team Vice-Captain whose team, Ma-Indies have now been promoted to the National Women’s League as of next season.
The 28-year-old tells FARPost she is looking forward to making her debut at the National Women’s elite League when football officially resumes.
“I am very happy because it’s something that I have been looking forward to,” she said.
“Teams in the National League have been pursuing me to join them but I told them that I will come to the National League with my team and I will be there for my team. I cannot wait for that moment when they open for the new season so that we can participate.
“I wouldn’t say I was impatient but I wanted to see myself playing with other players that I play with in the National team. But I knew I wouldn’t jump steps so I had to start at the Sasol League then go to the National League,” she said.
The right-back adds that she still has ambitions of securing a move abroad.
“I believe it’s every girls’ dream playing overseas and getting the opportunity to play with the big name players in the top league and all that so all I can say is, I want to see myself playing out there with the big players that I played against in the World Cup. So it is not just a matter of going to play there but to secure myself a good contract and to gain a valuable experience that I can pass on when I return to South Africa,” added Ramalepe.
“I really miss playing football to such an extent that while I am here at home, I just take the kids’ soccer ball and play with it inside the yard so yah this pandemic has taken the joy and love of football but I believe anytime soon we will be back to playing again so that I can do what I love the most, which is playing football,” she said.
Ramalepe made her national team debut in 2014 aged 23 and has gone on to earn 75 international caps.
She was also part of the Banyana Banyana squad at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
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By Ofhani Munyai