9 January 2018 – Interim head coach of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana, Desiree Ellis, has described the retirement of Amanda Dlamini from the national team as a sad day for women’s football.
Dlamini, a former Banyana Banyana captain, hung up her international boots on Tuesday, 9 January 2017 after a long career spanning 11 years, where she earned 105 caps.
She is only one of six players reach the milestone century of matches for the South African Senior Women’s National Team – other are Portia Modise (retired), Janine Van Wyk (current captain), Noko Matlou, Nompumelelo Nyandeni and recently Nothando Vilakazi.
“This is a sad day for South African women’s football because Amanda has been an integral part of the game for so long. Her name was synonymous with the Banyana Banyana. And even though she had long relinquished the captain’s armband, many still refer to her to this day as the captain of Banyana Banyana because of her contribution to the growth of the national team,” said Ellis.
“It is also sad to see her depart the scene because I have known her since she was young and have seen her grow. Amanda has been an icon and a role model to many players, especially the young ones. We will surely miss her presence as she had a lot of influence both on and off the pitch. She has left big shoes to fill and we are hopeful that with the talent that we have, we will find someone to run with the baton.”
Ellis adds that this is the most difficult period for any player, when to call it quits.
“I must admit this is not an easy decision to make, and as a former player I know because I have been there. As a player there comes a time when you feel the passion is still there but the drive is no longer the same, and you spend weeks and even months thinking about whether to retire or to continue. It is a brave decision she has made and I must commend her for making a decision,” added Ellis.
Dlamini was called up for the upcoming international friendly match against Sweden in Cape Town on Sunday, 21 January. She was part of a squad of 26 players.
“After a year’s absence from the national team, we were looking forward to working with her again in the Sweden match, it is unfortunate that she had to go now. I can only wish her all the best in her new adventure. She is a magnificent player and we will miss her contribution on and off the field,” said Ellis.
“In her place we will call up Xolisile Mnikathi of Sunflowers in KwaZulu Natal. She was one of the shining stars at the 2017 Sasol League National Championship in Nelspruit.”
DLAMINI FACT FILE:
FULL NAME: AMANDA SINEGUGU DLAMINI
Born: 22 July 1988 (age 29)
Height: 1.62 m
Weight: 61 kg
- Dlamini was born in Harding in KwaZulu Natal
- She started playing soccer in 1999 for a boys’ team, Young Callies
- At a club level, Dlamini has played for Durban Ladies and the University of Johannesburg
- She made her debut for the senior national team in 2007 in a 5-0 loss to Nigeria in an Olympic qualifier
- She scored her first international goal against Netherlands
- She was the top goalscorer of the 2008 Sasol Women’s League
- She was part of the squads that won bronze and silver medals at the 2010 African Women’s Championship and 2012 African Women’s Championship
- At the 2010 championships, she was named Most Valuable Player
- She was captain of the national team between 2011 and 2013
- She became the fifth female football player to win 100 caps for South Africa following a friendly match against the United States in July 2016, following in the footsteps of Janine van Wyk, Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Portia Modise and Noko Matlou
- Prior to the game, she said “It has always been a dream of mine to play for the national team, I have never wanted to do anything else but play football. I am what I am today because of the game. I have given so much to the game and to see myself so close to the 100 caps makes me very emotional.”
- In 2012, she founded the Amanda Dlamini Girls Foundation aiming to provide basic help to girls in rural areas.