Mamello’s long World Cup wait with Banyana is finally over

JOHANNESBURG – The journey of Banyana Banyana’s midfield maestra, Mamello Makhabane, has been a journey of perspiration and perseverance.

The charismatic, Makhabane (31), made her international debut back in 2005.

She was made to wait for 11 years to represent her country in a global showpiece.

Unfortunately for Makhabane, she missed out on the 2012 London Olympics because of a groin injury, but bounced back as she helped Banyana to qualify for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro 2016.

“I’m glad that I’m back on my feet again. It was sad but I really had strong support base from my family, technical team and teammates,“ Makhabane said yesterday before they kicked off their training session at Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu.

Banyana will square off against Jamaica on Sunday in a friendly match at Moses Mabhida Stadium at 3pm. The match is part of the preparations for the World Cup in France in June. Entrance will be free and tickets are available at computicket.

B19CFSM423 - Mamello's long World Cup wait with Banyana is finally over
Mamello Makhabane is challenged by Eveliina Summanen of Finland during the 2019 Cyprus Cup match. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

“I can’t dwell too much on the past but I’m happy that everything is on the right now. My level of fitness is great.

“I believe that God was on my side. I was glad that the team qualified and represented the country well in the tournament (in 2012). I knew that I would be back on feet again,” she added.

“The World Cup is going to be difficult. We are preparing so hard. We just hope to go in to the next round. I believe that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible,” Makhabane elaborated.

“Football is about discipline. If you don’t have discipline, I don’t think you will make it in this game. Discipline has played a major role in my career,” Makhabane stated.

Banyana are in the same group as Germany, China and Spain in the World Cup.

“I’ve been to the Olympics but the World Cup is the biggest of them all. Playing in the World Cup will be special for me,” Makhabane concluded.


The Star

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