30 May 2019 – When Banyana Banyana was working hard to qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women’s Cup at the Women’s AFCON tournament in Ghana last year, young Karabo Dhlamini was with the U-17 Women’s National Team at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay.
While the senior team’s qualification brought her joy from a woman footballer point of view, never did she imagine that she could be joining them in France as part of the squad.
“I am very happy because my being selected for the senior team indicates a lot of growth and progress on my side as I am from the junior teams. It makes me excited and shows that anything is possible – and I want to believe I am an inspiration to many kids back home that nothing can stand in your way if you believe – it’s entirely in their hands if you are prepared to work for it,” said an excited Dhlamini.
“Yes, now that i have been brought into the system, my dream of playing in my second world cup is fast becoming a reality – but the important thing is that at times you can aspire or want something and it doesn’t happen, I should not despair. What makes me happy at the moment is that I am in France with the squad, and that is a great achievement by itself.”
The left-footed Mamelodi Sundowns player has big dreams of plying her trade abroad.
“I would be happy to showcase my talent in the tournament and get an overseas contract, but what is more important than an individual accolade is that we do well as a team. We don’t want to put ourselves under pressure but we would really love to get out of our group and proceed to the next round – now that would be amazing, and historic by itself, first world cup and we in the next round, what could be better than that,” added Dhlamini.
The former U-17 vice captain says she has had to grow quickly in the senior team, as there are big differences between the junior teams and Banyana Banyana.
“What I saw in Uruguay is that, in terms of football, there are more developed countries than us, but if we work hard and with determination we can be able to show them a thing or two on the field. I have learnt a lot about teamwork from Banyana Banyana – you will never at any point on the field find yourself isolated, there is always someone to assist and help in a sticky situation. They also motivate you so much so that when you wake up the next day you look forward to being part of the team over and over again – that for me is a great,” said Dhlamini.
“When we analyze our opponents, we must not want to accommodate the way they play and change our style to suit their needs, we must also bring our capabilities to the fore because they don’t change their style for us, so why should we change ours.”
Dhlamini believes the Norway clash will go a long way in helping them complete their preparations for the World Cup.
“The friendly against Norway is very important to all of us because it is the last one before we start the tournament, so winning this match or even if we don’t win, we must at least be able to show what we have been doing all along facing all those difficult opponents and travelling far and wide to prepare for the tournament, that for me would be a great morale booster ahead of the start of the World Cup.
Banyana Banyana and Norway clash in Amiens on Sunday, 2 June 2019 at 20h00.
The squad will travel to Le Havre immediately after the fixture to get ready for Spain, who they face on 8 June 2019.
NB: There are four Banyana Banyana players who will be attending their second FIFA World Cup tournaments:
Karabo Dhlamini: 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, Uruguay
Sibulele Holweni: 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, Uruguay
Jermaine Seoposenwe: 2010 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, Trinidad and Tobago
Kaylin Swart: 2010 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, Trinidad and Tobago
KARABO DHLAMINI FACTFILE:
DOB: 18 September 2001
POB: Tshwane, Gauteng
Club: Mamelodi Sundowns (Gauteng)
Caps : 5
Banyana Banyana Debut: vs Netherlands (19 January 2019)
* 2NDWC TOURNAMENT – U17 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP:URUGUAY 2018 *