Off the field, Amanda Dlamini still leads

3 October 2013

Amanda Dlamini spoke on Thursday about her decision to relinquish the captaincy of South Africa’s national women’s football team, Banyana Banyana, and about her work in the development of women’s soccer.

In March, Dlamini gave up the national leadership reins, after two years at the helm, to focus on her own game and her tertiary studies.

“It was one of the toughest decisions I had to make regarding my footballing career. It’s something that needed to be done for me to be content with myself, my game and my studies,” she said in a statement.

Higher education ‘a priority’

Higher education was a priority, said the third-year road transport management student, even for those young women carving out a career in professional sport.

“Women’s sport still lacks the sponsorship needed to make a good living, so should anything happen, such as a career-changing injury, one should be able to continue having a full life through your chosen field.”

Dlamini has returned to her home in Harding, KwaZulu-Natal while she completes a module via correspondence and plays for Durban Ladies in the Sasol provincial league.

She has already made 66 appearances for the national squad and scored 21 goals in the process.

The highlight of her tenure as captain was leading the first ever Banyana team to qualify for an Olympic Games to London in 2012.

Dlamini hopes to still be an integral part of South Africa’s plans to qualify for the 2015 Fifa Women’s World Cup and their quest to win the African Women’s Championship.

Amanda Dlamini Girls’ Foundation

Earlier this year, she established the Amanda Dlamini Girls’ Foundation, which aims to inspire young girls from rural areas to pursue their dreams.

“As a rural girl, I know how it feels to be isolated from all sporting activities. Because I have experienced these challenges, I felt the need to go out there and motivate these young girls not to give up, no matter what.”

As part of the programme, Dlamini shares her footballing experiences and some of the challenges that female athletes face. She said the emphasis was on balancing education and sport, and providing coaching in life skills and football.

“We offer career guidance and teambuilding exercises. There’s also something called ‘my sacred space’, which which is where I tell them about my upbringing and relate to them and answer one-on-one questions.”

Dlamini, who scored two goals in the University of Johannesburg’s 6-0 drubbing of the Tshwane University of Technology to help her team to victory in the inaugural Varsity Football competition in September, said the new competition had added great value to the game by ensuring constant competition and providing a visible and equal platform for women’s football.

‘On the rise’

“This shows that women’s sport as a whole is on the rise and being taken seriously.”

Dlamini’s greatest ambition is to one day have her own football academy for women. She says her own start was less auspicious: she followed her cousin and brother to the fields where they played.

“One day I was asked to play because they were a man short and I grabbed that chance with both hands. At first it was just a hobby. Little did I know the only little girl playing with boys would one day get this far.”

SAinfo reporter