The University of the Western Cape has scored big time, after three of their women’s soccer players were selected to play in the national team.
The trio left for Cameroon earlier this week to join the rest of Banyana Banyana, who are taking part in the African Women’s Championship.
Midfielders Amogelang Motau, Thembi Kgatlana and Leandra Smeda all played in the varsity’s ladies award-winning team this year.
The team have competed in four competitions this year, winning three and placing second in the 2016 Varsity Women’s Football tournament.
The trio credited their coaches and teammates for their national selection.
An excited Amogelang Motau, 19, a first-year administration student, says being part of the UWC, or “Udubs”, footie team has put her on the map.
“I’m in the Banyana Banyana team because of the UWC team. Being part of a winning team and playing in the Varsity Cup played an important role. It gave me a platform for the national coaches to see me,” she says.
Teammate Thembi Kgatlana, 20, a tourism student, says getting into the UWC team is tough, and staying in is even tougher as there are always girls ready to take your place.
“The Udubs ladies are a very competitive team, which makes me want to give of my best on and off the field,” she says.
The ladies joined the Banyana Banyana camp in October, and in the run-up to Cameroon, the team played two friendly matches against Egypt and Zimbabwe and won both games, 3-1 and 3-0.
Thembi and Leandra both put the ball in the back of the net to seal the win for Banyana.
Leandrea, 27, from Velddrif, has been in the national team since 2010. She’s been moved from midfielder to fullback by the interim coach Desiree Ellis, to give the team attacking advantage.
Leandra adds: “I have adjusted well in the position. I played different positions at UWC, so when the coach needed me at fullback, it wasn’t a problem. Even though I changed positions, the coach has not restricted me, allowing me to play my own game.”
UWC Ladies head coach, Nathan Peskin, says: “As a coach and an institution we are extremely proud. Our job is not just to coach football but to uplift the women. We coach through education and sport, increasing their quality of life.”
Banyana Banyana have clinched several silver medals in previous African Women Championships, but hope to bring home gold this time.
The team will face Zimbabwe in their opening match of the tournament, which runs from tomorrow to 3 December.