As a proud South African woman in South African football, Banyana Banyana’s midfielder Robyn Moodaly has defied all odds within her career, continuously proving why she deserves a spot at the table of South African soccer greats.
For the 29-year-old professional soccer player, Under Armour Athlete, JVW Football Club captain and all-around inspiration, football is more than just a game.
She advocates passionately and proudly for women in sports, regardless of their age, background, or race, firmly believing that hard work yields deserving results.
With the rise of women’s sports over the past five years, you don’t have to look very hard to see female athletes described as heroes, role models or being compared favourably to male athletes for their behaviour and composure.
But, it wasn’t always like this – especially for someone like Moodaly who is currently excelling in a once male-only dominated sport.
In order to rise above challenges she credits three elements of her career - mental toughness, team spirit and playing a vital role in women’s sports.
“In order to be a professional sportswoman, you need to be able to have a strong sense of mental toughness.
“Keeping my mental state on a high level as a woman playing in this type of sport is never easy, but it is a challenge I face head-on and with positivity,” she said.
“Being a woman in the sports industry itself is always going to be challenging. However, I have that tough mental strength and mentality that I believe will get me through any challenge.
“I always remind myself of my ‘why’s’ – why I am doing this, why I am playing this sport, why I have the goals that I do.
“You have to be able to overcome some of the mental challenges and be professional in that way, it’s a skill you learn.
“Discipline and commitment play a big role in maintaining mental toughness and I believe those elements are what have pushed me to where I am today.”
When it comes to team spirit, she says that her team and the idea of being in a team means unity.
“You walk onto that field and it’s not a team, it’s a sisterhood. You feel protected as a team; you feel supported and lifted when you not having a good game; you celebrate good games together; and ultimately you cannot do it alone.
“For me ‘team’ is everything. You succeed as a team, you lose together as a team, and ultimately, the best things happen when there’s unity and like-minded goals within the team. Being part of a team is something so special,” she adds.
Moodaly believes that for the youth they have set a very good platform to inspire and motivate.
“As the Banyana team, I believe it serves as a great message to the youth to show them that anything is possible. The sport has battled for many years, but look where we are today.
“After qualifying for the World Cup for the second time, also having been to the Olympics, as well as playing in a semi-pro league – that is something I never thought was possible. I believe that the platform we are setting, which I am involved in, is a great way to help the youth and show them that anything is possible. I truly believe that things are only going to get better for women’s football in South Africa.”
“To me, football is endless possibilities; it’s endless opportunities. Making connections, sharing memories, creating moments in time with family and friends is what football has afforded me and I owe it all to the sport,” she concluded.
According to Under Armour, with who Moodaly has been signed up as an Under Armour Athlete, the brand says she is the perfect fit for them.
“She is an athlete that does the work, both on and off the pitch. Her workload and performance requirement is exceptionally high and she serves as a key role model for women in sport and the youth in SA.”