20 February 2019– It is every player’s dream to play for their country, but even a greater honour to represent your national team in a World Cup tournament.
Former midfielder of the South African U17 and U20 Women’s National Teams, Robyn Moodaly, knows this all too well.
She has tasted being part of such a set-up at the highest level – she played at the 2010 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago, alongside striker Jermaine Seoposenwe and goalkeeper Kaylin Swart – who are currently in the Banyana Banyana squad.
Moodaly was also selected for the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games – the latter tournament being the last time she was in the Banyana Banyana camp.
Over the last two years she has been studying in the USA, and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Studies, while also playing for the University of Northwestern Ohio.
She is now back home in South Africa, toying with the idea of returning to the USA to study further and even to play football.
Moodaly is currently training with JVW FC in Johannesburg to stay fit, and says the knee injury that nearly cost her a place in the Rio Olympics squad is now a thing of the past.
“I am actually feeling very good, never felt this strong in a long time. I am very hard on myself and that is why I have been working hard over the past few months to make sure I heal completely, and if a call up comes, I will not hesitate – I will take it with open arms,” said Moodaly.
But she knows her work is cut out, as she is way behind in terms of match fitness, having missed out over a two-year period.
“I miss the squad and yes I would love to play again, especially at the World Cup, hence I am training hard to stay fit. I am well aware that I am behind when it comes to match fitness, but I believe in myself. I have been following this team forever and I have seen them played – they are very impressive, and it shows there has been a lot of improvement over the last few months,” added Moodaly.
“I was over the moon when we qualified for the World Cup – but I wasn’t shocked because I knew it was a matter of time before we got over the line as we have been playing very well and improving with every match and tournament. I am very happy we are going to the World Cup as it is every player’s dream to be part of that event and I will be rooting for the them all the way – whether I am there or not. For the moment, I need to continue working hard and we take it from there.”
Moodaly knows though that she has little time to convince the Banyana Banyana technical team about her readiness – the World Cup is from 7 June, just four months away.
And she is not alone – there are many other players eyeing a World Cup spot – more so because it is a maiden tournament for the South African Senior Women’s National Team – and will be hoping they will get the nod. Even those that are already in the current squad are not guaranteed places but they have an advantage.
The squad assembles for camp on Wednesday, 20 February 2019.
They depart for Cyprus on Saturday, 23 February for the Cyprus Women’s Cup