30 August 2019 – Banyana Banyana defender Bambanani Mbane will be making her 50thappearance for her country when they face Botswana in the first leg second round Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifier tonight (Friday, 30 August 2019) at the National Stadium in the capital Gaborone, Botswana.
Kickoff is at 19h00.
The Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies central defender made her debut against the same country in April 2016 in Women’s AFCON qualifier.
“So so unreal, I got introduced to international football against Botswana, and now three years later I reach my 50thcap against the same country – it shows that the Lord works in mysterious ways,” said an elated Mbane.
“To be honest, I have mixed emotions – I am excited, I am nervous, I don’t know what’s happening. I have been thinking about it because it is just unbelievable but I am really grateful to have come this far. I just can’t believe that I will be reaching my 50thcap because this is something I have always wanted.”
The Sterkspruit, Eastern Cape born players attributes her success to the support and advice she has received over the years from various people.
“My journey has never been easy. But if you associate yourself with positive people all the time, it helps. These are people who sat me down and looked me in the eye and told me that the journey is not going to be easy but I need to work hard to achieve. They said to me I should never up when the going gets tough, and they also said that anything is possible and I can achieve anything I want provided I put in the hard work.. And that is my motivation right there, I really appreciate their support for me,” added Mbane.
To date, she has scored three goals for the South African Senior Women’s National Team, and the goals came during the recent COSAFA Women’s Championship in Port Elizabeth.
Having made 49 appearances for her country, Mbane says one match stands out for her.
“My most memorable game was the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup clash against China in France – who would have thought that a girl like me who grew up in a rural area could one day play in such a big stage – it is just so unbelievable and I will never forget that match. They say dreams do come true and that is exactly what happened. I am still excited even today,” said a beaming Mbane.
“For the future, I just want to achieve more with Banyana Banyana and get more caps – right now I am so motivated.
She is quick to say that even though it’s her day, the main focus should be on the team doing well as they are not representing themselves but the whole country.
“My greatest wish is that we win against Botswana and celebrate my 50thcap on a high note, because it is not about me, but the whole team – and that would be greatest gift ever. But we know the game won’t be easy but I think the soldiers are ready to fight, especially mentally. I could see at the training session everyone is focussed, everyone knows what they want. The team spirit is also at its highest, which is a good thing, so we will do our best because we are not just playign for ourselves, but also for our country,” said the rather shy defender.
She joins an illustrious group of South Africans who have reached the milestone – with goalkeeper Andile Dlamini and forward Linda Motlhalo hot on her heels:
|Janine VAN WYK ( C )||170||11|
|Portia MODISE (retired)||124||101|
|Refiloe JANE ( VC )||113||16|
|Amanda DLAMINI (retired)||105||24|
|Andile DLAMINI (GK)||46||0|
Bambanani Mbane fact file:
- DEFENDER (13)
- DOB: 12 March 1990
- Birthplace: Sterkspruit, Eastern Cape
- Club: Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies (Bloemfontein)
- Previous Clubs: Mdeni United (Joe Gqabi), Soul Buddies (Chris Hani), Coastal United (OR Tambo)
- Current League: SAFA Women’s National League
- Caps: 50
- Goals: 3
- Banyana Debut: vs Botswana on 12 April 2016 (2016 AWCON Qualifier)
- 2010-2017 Sasol League Free State Provincial Champions (Bloemfontein Celtic)
- 2016 Rio Olympics
- 2016 AWCON 4th place
- 2016 & 2017 Sasol League National Champion (Bloemfontein Celtic)
- 2017 Sasol League National Championship Diski Queen and Queen of Queens Awards of the Tournament (Bloemfontein Celtic)
- 2017 COSAFA Cup Champion & Player of the Match Award
- 2018 Cyprus Cup 6th place,
- 2018 COSAFA Cup Champion
- 2018 AWCON 2ndPlace
- 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup – France
- 2019 COSAFA Cup Champion