Mamello Makhabana celebrated his 100th cap in the match against Madagascar on Monday. Photo: @Banyana_Banyana on twitter

PORT ELIZABETH – It's been 14 years since Banyana Banyana midfielder Mamello Makhabane made her debut for South Africa against Zimbabwe in 2005.

But despite a sometimes long and bumpy road since that day Makhabane can now finally celebrate her 100th appearance for her country.

That proud moment came in the current Cosafa (Council of Southern African Football Associations) Women's Championships in Port Elizabeth in the match against Madagascar in Port Elizabeth on Monday.

And the celebrations will be even sweeter if South Africa can get past Zimbabwe in the semifinals on Thursday and can go all the way and lift the trophy for the third consecutive time.

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Makhabane earned her first cap in a 9-0 victory over Zimbabwe at the Isaac Steyn Stadium under the late Styles Phumo.

'Jabu', as she is affectionately known to her teammates, scored a hattrick in that game, and walked away with the Player of the Match.

Following that high, she has had an often arduous and frustrating road to get to her 100th cap. Like many sports stars, she has had to endure an injury-plagued career, forcing her to miss several tournaments, including the London 2012 Olympic Games.

But with her never-say-die attitude, Makhabane has kept on working hard and made the Rio 2016 Olympic Games squad.

When she thought she was over her injuries, she almost missed out on the 2018 Women’s Afcon, where Banyana Banyana finished second and qualified for their maiden Fifa Women’s World Cup.

This was a tournament she also almost never made after a race against time to recover from yet another injury.

Makhabane joins an elite group of players who have reached the 100-cap milestone:

Janine van Wyk (170 caps), Noko Matlou (160), Nompumelelo Nyandeni (149), Nothando Vilakazi (132), 

Portia Modise – retired (124), Refiloe Jane (110) and Amanda Dlamini – retired (105).

Makhabane's top honours: 

2006: AWCON third-place
2006: All Africa Games champions
2007/08: Vodacom National champions
2008: Cosafa Under-20 champions
2009: Sasol National Championship runners-up (Palace Super Falcons)
2010/2011/ 2012: Sasol League National champions (Palace Super Falcons)
2011: Cosafa runners-up
2010: AWCON third-place
2016: Rio Olympics
2018: Awcon second-place
2019: Fifa Women’s World Cup 


African News Agency (ANA)