PUMA Football caught up with Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies Team Goalkeeper Andile Dlamini for a Q&A.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in Tembisa, a busy township in Johannesburg. I attended the Modern English Primary School and finished off at Marlboro Secondary School. I have four uncles and they always played street soccer. One day, one of them was not around and they asked me to join in telling me to aim at the placed goal (brick at that time). I ended up scoring and my uncles were so happy it made me feel special. They told my other uncle that he’s going to be replaced by me, that made me fall in love with football and I started playing with the boys my age.
What do you love about the beautiful game?
I love the challenges it gives you, the personality it brings out, the willingness to work for each other and how it brings people together and above all, I love the emotions involved. It brings tears of joy, sadness, anger.
What are your strengths as a player?
I’m brave, I’m a fast thinker and I have confidence in myself and what I can do. I’m self-motivated and I can adapt to situations very quickly. I’m a 1-on-1 specialist and a penalty saver.
Who has been your biggest inspiration in life?
My mother, simply because she never gave up and always gave me love in difficult times. She worked extra hard for all the things she has.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Never give up. Work, work until you achieve your goals. Always strive to be a leader, not a follower.
What advice do you have for young girls who dream of becoming footballers?
Always do your best and let God do the rest. Work hard today while you still have a chance and make your dream a reality.
What difficulties have you encountered as a woman in football?
We don’t have a professional league, we struggle to get personal sponsors and financial gains are minimal.
What are your football ambitions?
Become the best goalkeeper in the world and achieving 100 clean sheets for my country and 500 for my team, Mamelodi Sundowns.
Tell us about the highlight of your football career?
Being in the team for the SASOL National Championship in 2013 and 2015. Going to the Olympics in Rio 2016. Playing in the African Women Championship in Cameroon 2016 and named goalkeeper of the tournament.
What is your biggest disappointment as a footballer?
Not making the London Olympic team in 2012 and not able to defend the Sasol Women’s Trophy in 2014 and 2016.
In tough times where do you draw your strength?
I’m a religious person. I believe in God and I get my strength from my prayers.
Do you have a day job?
I have a job as a school coach.
How would you like to see women’s football develop?
I’d like to see a professional women’s league and see a development structure in place for girls as young as six.
What do you like about being a part of the Mamelodi Sundowns football club?
This team wants to win games and trophies. We are a family and this team has given hope to many young players. And I love it.