Banyana Banyana midfielder Leandra Smeda has joined an illustrious elite group of national team players to rack up 100 appearances for the women’s national team.
The 30-year-old now joins the likes of Janine van Wyk, Refiloe Jane, Nompulelelo Nyandeni, Noko Matlou, Amanda Dlamini, Mamello Makhabane and Portia Modise to collect 100 caps or more for the national team.
The Banyana midfielder achieved this milestone during their recent 2-0 defeat by Japan in an international friendly at the Kitakyushu Stadium on Sunday, 10 November 2019.
Smeda admits she faced a number of challenges along her journey to reaching 100 caps, but found a way to balance her life as a student and footballer.
‘At age 11 I realised that football is what I truly love and enjoy. Although I participated in other sports, I always gravitated more towards the game of football,’ Smeda told Safa.
‘I think Sasol’s sponsorship has been really good for women’s football in South Africa. Women footballers are receiving more exposure, you can see it by the number of players from both Banyana Banyana and the Sasol League obtaining contracts abroad. I don’t think I would be here today if I did not receive the opportunity to play and show my talent through the Sasol League, so I’m really grateful for that.
‘The biggest challenge I faced in my football career was when I was still a student and had to study, work and play football. It was really difficult for me but with my family and friends’ support, I pushed through it all and made sure that I still excel in the sport.
‘That is truly what I believe being limitless is all about – pushing through the challenges and working hard towards your dreams. My advice to upcoming football players is to work hard, believe in themselves and enjoy the game. They should also put the same effort into school and their studies because the two work hand in hand,’ she concluded.
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