GOLDEN GLOVES: Andile Dlamini

You are currently viewing GOLDEN GLOVES: Andile Dlamini
  • Post published:May 19, 2023

Competing at the Women’s World Cup this year means so much more for Banyana Banyana than the trophy on offer, says goalkeeper Andile Dlamini. By Nick Said.

South Africa will make a second successive visit to the Women’s World Cup finals when the competition is staged in Australia and New Zealand from late July, a chance for the country to show its continued progression in the ladies’ game.

Banyana Banyana debuted in France in 2019, where they were placed on a steep learning curve, but will have taken much from that experience into this latest edition.

They have a bit of a horror draw in the group stage Down Under, with all three opponents providing them with a stern challenge.

Sweden were runners-up at the 2003 World Cup and have won bronze on three other occasions, including last time out in France. They have also won the silver medal at the past two Olympic Games.

Italy were quarterfinalists four years ago, though perhaps Banyana midfielder Refiloe Jane, who has been based in that country for the past few years, will be able to add some insight.

Argentina are appearing at a fourth World Cup, but have yet to get past the group stages, so may be the team Banyana should target, though they are still well above South Africa in the global rankings.

Key to Banyana’s chances is livewire goalkeeper Andile Dlamini, 30, now a veteran of the side having made her debut back in 2011.

“Our group is a very tough one, but we are also a tough team to beat,” Dlamini tells SOCCERCLUB. “We are fighting for women’s football in Africa.”

Dlamini was a star when South Africa won the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, a maiden continental gold medal, and says this is a team very much on the up.

“We told ourselves we wanted to win the Afcon and we did that. We are in a good space mentally, even if we know it is going to be a tough World Cup. Those three teams have a whole lot more experience in their squad, with players who play professionally day in and day out.

“We haven’t had a professional league in our country, but our mentality is in the right space and we do the extra work needed to pick up a little bit [more quality]. One thing I can promise: It is not going to be easy for anyone in the group.”

Dlamini understands that this is not just about competing for a trophy at the World Cup. Especially in Africa, it means so much more.

“We will perform to the best of our abilities because we know there is that girl child watching and saying, ‘I want to be a Banyana player one day’. We are going to the World Cup to show that child what is possible.

“We know this is true, because being at the World Cup in 2019 changed not only how aspiring soccer players saw us, but also brands. We saw sponsors come forward and want to be involved in women’s football.

“Being seen there encourages that young girl or boy from the hood to say, ‘it is possible. If Andile has done it, then so can I. Even without the best facilities or equipment, I can do it’. We want to show those young children that football can change your life.”

Banyana will be based in Wellington in New Zealand during the pool phase and open their campaign against Sweden on July 23.

“Performing on that huge stage encourages you as a footballer,” Dlamini explains. “You don’t want to disappoint those people who have always supported you. I take
motivation from that.”

Photo by Weam Mostafa/BackpagePix