JOHANNESBURG – Banyana Banyana vice-captain Refiloe Jane is humbled by being selected as the Gauteng Sportswoman of the Year.
Jane’s recognition was based on her terrific outing with the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) Ladies’ team as she led them to the University Sports South Africa (USSA) championship and Varsity Football titles last year.
On an international level, she captained Banyana to the last year’s Cosafa Cup tournament in Zimbabwe.
“I am very humbled, because it could have gone to anyone,” Jane said at the SilverStar Casino on Sunday. “I am a firm believer in Christ, and if He says the word, no one can take that away. It hasn’t been an easy journey since I started playing, but with patience, hard-work and dedication, now I am reaping the fruits of it all.”
Last term’s performance also caught the eye of Australian outfit Canberra United, hence they lured the 26-year-old footballer over to the Westfield W-League.
Canberra snapped her up, along with Banyana teammate Rhoda Mulaudzi. The duo have already experienced their new home after undergoing a successful trial with the team.
However, ‘Fifi’ stresses that it took many contributions from those close to her to make the deal a success.
“It wasn’t an easy deal to finalise because we had to sponsor ourselves, but we are grateful to everyone that donated,” she insisted.
“Even when the opportunities do not come, you have to be ready because you do not know when they’ll arise. We were not thinking about such a chance to play abroad but it came around. We were not even thinking about Australia, because when we talk of women’s football, people think about the United States or England.”
Before moving to Australia though, Jane and company will be out to defend their Cosafa Cup title in Port Elizabeth from September 12-22.
Banyana are in Group A, where they’ll open their account against Madagascar, and also meet Botswana and Malawi during the round robin stage. “We want to do well for the nation,” Jane explained. “There’s pressure to retain the cup. The nice thing about it is that we are playing at home, so we are hoping to see the supporters come out in numbers.
“We are also aware that Sasol (Banyana’s sponsor) has been doing a great job with the Limitless campaign as they get supporters to come to the stadium. We also want to use the tournament to make sure that we are ready for the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations.”’
The Star is the official media partner of the Gauteng Sports Awards.@Mihlalibaleka