Former Banyana Banyana captain, Amanda Dlamini has revealed that her decision to hang up her boots was mainly because of her exclusion from the national team in 2017. Dlamini is not the first player to have been forced out of Banyana. Portia Modise, Thokozile Mndaweni and Sanah Mollo are among the other players who seem to have left the game prematurely. Modise announced her retirement as the team was preparing for the Rio Olympic qualifiers while Mollo disappeared when the team came back from Brazil. Mndaweni’s last tournament was the 2014 Women’s Afcon in which Banyana finished fourth.
Toki believes her exclusion was unfair and this would put her on the back foot for future selection because other players had been active in a number of games including the Cosafa Women’s Championship.
She thought this would be the right time to take a bow with good memories of the Olympics, especially Rio which is still fresh in the mind.
“It granted me the opportunity to think about retirement and rather see what else I can do on the side. Being excluded from the team gave me time to go over the reasons the coach gave me. I felt it was a bit unfair. But we have to respect the coach at the end of the day as they have the final say,” she says.
Although Banyana are a few months away from qualifying for this year’s Afcon, which also serves as the Fifa Women’s World Cup qualifiers, Dlamini says while the prospect of playing in the World Cup is tempting, she knows it’s time to hang up her boots.
“I think one of the things I was still hoping to achieve is a qualification for a World Cup but unfortunately it’s not going to happen. I feel that this was the right time,” she says.
Banyana have already missed out on the 2015 edition of the competition which was held in Canada after they came fourth in Namibia in 2014. South Africa have to finish in the top three to represent the continent at next year’s tournament in France.
Even though she is leaving Banyana, Dlamini will always have a soft spot for the team she captained. Dlamini hopes talent identification will improve in the years to come.WOM