4 April 2019 – Defender Noko Matlou will be honoured by the proud sponsor of Banyana Banyana, Sasol, as well as the South African Football Association (SAFA) this weekend (Sunday, 7 April 2019) when the Senior Women’s National Team takes on the Reggae Girlz in an international friendly match scheduled for the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban at 15h00.
This comes after Matlou reached a great milestone of 150 appearances for the national team.
She was the first South African footballer to receive a CAF Women’s Player of the Year award in 2008. Matlou’s achievement comes hot on the heels of Banyana Banyana captain Janine van Wyk, who is now 164 – making Matlou the second footballer in the country to reach this milestone.
Growing up in Moletjie Limpopo, the defender was originally interested in athletics and only started pursuing football at the age of 13. With the support of her coaches, she continued playing football and eventually received her first call up for Banyana Banyana at the age of 22. Today, the 2008 SAFA Player of the Year continues to inspire young women footballers who look up to her.
“Since I started playing football, I’ve always wondered what kind of player I would be, how many caps I would reach and how long I would play for the national team. I’m so grateful to be counted among the most capped footballers in South Africa. It hasn’t been an easy journey getting to where I am, but it has definitely been rewarding,” she said.
Famously known as Beep-Beep for her speed, Noko Matlou joined the Sasol League during its inception in 2009. She admits that being in the league has played a huge role in her growth as a Banyana Banyana player.
“The Sasol League has definitely played a role in my football career. It’s refreshing to compete against different players and also keep check of your competitiveness. You also come across new players with new skills, we all learn from each other,” added Matlou.
“Being a footballer, maintaining your health and renewing your skills is not always easy. That is why I always try and motivate new players to dream big, believe in themselves and work hard.”
Being part of Banyana Banyana for so long has also contributed significantly to my growth as a footballer. I’m grateful to Sasol and SAFA for the role they have played in making sure that we compete in tournaments and play international friendlies,” Matlou added.
She has been part of Banyana Banyana for more than 11 years with several achievements under her belt, and reaching the FIFA Women’s World Cup is a culmination of a stellar career.
“I think Banyana Banyana’s first participation at the 2019 FIFA Women’s Cup will open doors for South African players because it definitely adds value and experience to the team. There is a lot at stake and I think it’s up to each player to make this opportunity count. Some of us, and those who were there before us, have been waiting for so long for this moment. I believe that this is what being Limitless is all about – never giving up on your goals and dreams. Our time has come, our time is now. We worked really hard to get to where we are,” said Matlou.
For their final game on home soil ahead of the global football showpiece, Banyana Banyana will face Jamaica – a first meeting between the two nations.
Ealier this week (Tuesday, 2 April), the squad took part in a fun walk and were joined by their excited fans who got an opportunity to mingle with their favourite players.
“There is no support like the support of fellow South Africans. It’s what really keeps us going as a team, and it reminds us of who we are and who we are playing for. I hope to see Durban supporters come to the game and show their love to this magnificent group of player – it would really mean a lot for us to get that special South African send-off,” she concluded.
Noko Matlou’s achievements:
- 2008 COSAFA Champions, Player of the Tournament and joint Top Goalscorer
- 2008 AWCON 2nd place
- 2008 SAFA Player of the Year
- 2008 CAF Women’s Player of the Year (First South African to win this award)
- 2010 AWCON 3rd place
- 2011 Sasol League Runner-ups
- 2011 COSAFA Runner-ups
- 2011 World Student Games in China
- 2012 London Olympics
- 2012 AWCON 2nd place
- 2012 SA Sportswoman of the Year
- 2013 Sasol League Runners-up and Top Goalscorer
- 2014 World Student Games in Russia
- 2014 & 2016 AWCON 4th place
- 2016 Rio Olympics
- 2017 COSAFA Cup Champions
- 2018 Cyprus Cup 6th place,
- 2018 COSAFA Cup Champions, second highest capped football player in South Africa
- AWCON 2ndplace
For more information on the Limitless initiative and to show your support, search #Limitless on Twitter or YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jMRZ_CJR3Y
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