Lebohang Ramalepe is grateful for the opportunity to wear the captain’s armband for the first time when Banyana Banyana take on neighbours Lesotho in an international friendly at Tsakane Stadium on Sunday.
Kickoff is at 15h00, and entry is free in Banyana’s first match of the year.
With the absence of regular leaders Janine van Wyk and Refiloe Jane, the task fell to Ramalepe to lead Banyana and she is relishing the opportunity with a bunch of young players in the side.
“I am happy because I have been waiting for this moment,” said Ramalepe.
“I remember one time I grabbed the armband from Fifi’s (Refiloe Jane) hands and I said one day I will wear this armband.
“This is something I have always wished for, something I am really looking forward to. Kickoff time can’t come soon enough for me to get this show on the road,” added an excited Ramalepe.
Ramalepe is one of the senior players in the squad to face Lesotho with 74 caps, Fifa Women’s World Cup, Olympics and AWCON tournaments experience.
The right-back will be expected to lead by example.
“It’s a huge responsibility because we have so many young ones in this team so we (the older players) have to motivate them and show them the ropes,” said Ramalepe.
“But, it’s also not that difficult because we have been in this team for so many years, so we know what is expected from us, we have to make sure that we keep the kids motivated to do better.
“It is a fact that every country that plays us, especially from our COSAFA region, always come out with guns blazing, and I believe Lesotho will be no different.
“I have confidence in my teammates and the coaching staff that we will do well,” concluded Ramalepe.
Banyana Banyana Squad
Andile Dlamini GK, Jessica Williams GK, Mapaseka Mpuru GK, Lebogang Ramalepe (c), Tiisetso Makhubela, Bongeka Gamede, Sibulele Holweni, Xiluva Tshabalala, Lebogang Mabatle.
Koketso Tlailane, Ongeziwe Ndlangisa, Karabo Makhurubetshi, Mamello Makhabane, Oratile Mokwena, Karabo Dhlamini, Robyn Moodaly, Nomvula Kgoale, Nonhlanhla Mthandi, Neliswa Luthuli, Noxolo Cesane, Nomsa Mathonsi.
Rhoda Mulaudzi, Hilda Magaia, Pride Nthite, Amanda Mthandi, Lorraine Makhoali.
By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi