Dlamini takes a difficult decision

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Fresh from the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) triumph in the inaugural Varsity Football competition, Amanda Dlamini, 25, spoke about her decision to relinquish the national captain’s armband and her work in the development of women’s soccer.

In March, the Banyana Banyana midfielder gave up her captaincy, 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,” she said. “It’s something that needed to be done for me to be content with myself, my game and my studies.”

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,” she said. “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 is back home in Harding, KwaZulu-Natal, completing a module by correspondence. She plays for Durban Ladies in the Sasol provincial league. She has already made 66 appearances for the national squad and scored 21 goals.

The highlight of her tenure as captain was leading the first Banyana team to qualify for the Olympic Games in 2012. She hopes to be an integral part of South Africa’s bid to qualify for the 2015 Fifa Women’s World Cup and their quest to win the African Women’s Championship.

Earlier this year she established the Amanda Dlamini Girls’ Foundation, which aims to inspire young girls from rural areas. “As a rural girl, I know how it feels to be isolated from all sporting activities,” she said. “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.”

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

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