12 September 2019 – Banyana Banyana’s Noxolo Cesane and Bongeka Gamede are among some of the newcomers in the currrent Senior Women’s National Team.
Gamede received her first call up shortly before the squad travelled to France for their maiden FIFA Women’s World Cup in June, while Cesane joined up with the team at this year’s COSAFA Women’s Championship in Port Elizabeth.
Both have become key players for Banyana Banyana with their solid displays.
Gamede made her debut in the international friendly match against Norway in France – the last match before the start of the World Cup.
The defender has settled well with the team, but admits that at first there were some challenges.
“The biggest challenge for me was the thought of training and being in the same team as the senior players, but once I started training with them I realised that in football it’s not about how old you are or how long you have been playing, you just have to work hard and be dedicated.” she said.
Growing up in Ixopo Kwa-Zulu Natal, Gamede’s greatest challenge was that there we no girl teams in her community so she always played with her brothers and other boys. She became exposed to women’s football and teams when she joined the Sasol League, playing for the University of Western Cape, where she has been made captain of the team in the newly-launched SAFA National Women’s League.
Gamede walked away with the Sasol National Champs Queen of Queens award in 2018. After Banyana Banyana was knocked out in the first round at the World Cup, she joined the USSA squad for the 2019 Universiade Student Games in Napoli, Italy.
Cesane made a name for herself in Banyana Banyana colours immediately she was given a chance to play in Port Elizabeth. Fast and fearless, she became a favourite for the Nelson Mandela Bay crowd after scoring her first international goal at the tournament.
She started playing football at the age of 6 and was inspired by her brother who played for a PSL team. She then went on to join the Sasol League playing for Cape Town Roses at the age of 11.
“Playing in the Sasol League brought me confidence, I always wanted to help my team win but above that I would always strive for more achievements such as winning Diski Queen or player of the match. I always looked at how I can do more to stand out and I believe that’s what being Limitless is all about, being able and willing to do more. It’s important to believe and never give up on yourself.” she said.
The forward has an identical twin sister, Sinoxolo, who also plays football, and have both featured for the South African U-20 Women’s National Team (Basetsana).
Despite limited time in the Senior National Team, Noxolo has done very well for herself over the years and gathered a lot of experience.
She was the 2013 Sasol National Champs Queen of Queens, and won the 2014 Sasol National Champs Young Queen award.
Noxolo is a teammate of Bongeka at UWC, and both were part of the Banyana Banyana squad that participated in their first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
Hilda Magaia missed the World Cup tournament by a whisker after she was not selected when the final team was named.
Born and raised in Limpopo, Magaia’s first call up to Banyana Banyana was is 2018 at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Lesotho. Although she was nervous, Hilda was also excited to join the team and play with the likes of Refiloe Jane, who she looks up to.
“I had mixed emotions when I received my first call up, I was nervous but told myself that I’m going to go there and do what they called me for.” she said.
Before finding a team in her area, Hilda used to travel two hours from her home in Dennilton to Mamelodi three times a week, so she could practice with her team.
“I would get home around 1am which was a big challenge but I kept pushing because I had passion for football and saw myself going far. Playing in the Sasol League has made me a better player. I used to play in a league where I could kick the ball from one pole to another but once I joined the Sasol League I was forced to work harder as the teams where more challenging and competitive.” she concluded.
Hilda is now on the books of Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), where she is sa key player for the side. She has helped them rise to second position on the log table in the SAFA Women’s National League.
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