28 MAY 2019 – In 2015 goalkeeper Mapaseka Mpuru was a 17-year old who had the world at her feet. At the time she was a regular in the Banyana Banyana set-up and believed she was a shoe-in to make the squad for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil.
But her world was turned upside down when she was not selected for the final team travelling to Brazil, this after she had forfeited her Grade 12 studies for the year.
So hurt was Mpuru that she thought of quitting the game she loved, and soon fell into depression – going back home in the North West – abandoning everything in Johannesburg, including her education at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria.
After a couple of months, and with the help of her brother, she worked her way back to football, restarted her studies and worked hard in the game.
Today she is student for Tuks Ladies (University of Pretoria), enjoying both her studies and football again.
Mpuru was called up for just one Banyana Banyana training camp ahead of the international friendly match against world champions USA, and next she was named in the final squad to represent the country at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France starting next month – 7 June to 7 July – and is one of two uncapped players, the other being Bongeka Gamede.
At Banyana Banyana she was met by familiar faces – Gamede, Linda Motlhalo and Tiisetso Makhubela, whom she played with in the U17 Women’s National Team, as well as U20 Women’s National teammates Kaylin Swart (fellow goalkeeper), Thembi Kgatlana, Amanda Mthandi, Gamede, Makhubela, Karabo Dlamini and Sibulele Holweni. Mpuru was the second vice captain in the latter team, while Motlhalo was the captain and Gamede the first vice captain.
MAPASEKA MPURU FACTFILE:
Here she tells her story: