JOHANNESBURG – Former Banyana Banyana captain Amanda Dlamini has retired from international football in a career that saw her earn 105 caps and become the first person to captain the side at the Olympics.
Dlamini reached that milestone in the 2012 Olympics in London after leading the side in a gruelling campaign that saw them get past Ethiopia on a muddy pitch in Addis Ababa.
“My time away from the national team has afforded me some time to pray and do a bit of self-introspection about my future,” Dlamini said in a statement on Tuesday.
“After spending a year out of the national team, it has taken a lot for me to bounce back. I have always respected the coach’s reasons and thought-process in her selection criteria. “I last competed at international level during the 2016 Rio Olympics and it is time for me to move on.
“Today marks a new journey for me as I retire from the national team, Banyana Banyana. I may be closing the chapter on the national team, but I will still play domestic football and participate in football in other aspects. “It is time for me to pursue my other passions and open room for new and younger talent to represent South Africa.”
Dlamini retires with just two regrets – having never played in the World Cup, and without a winners’ medal from the Africa Women Cup of Nations (Awcon).
The closest she came to conquering the continent with Banyana was finishing second in the 2012 Awcon in Equatorial Guinea.
“It has always been my dream to reach this mark of exiting the national team with many good memories,” Dlamini said. “I still would have loved to reach the World Cup and win a gold medal on the African continent. It is time to pass on the baton to the younger generation who have proven themselves capable and eager to represent South Africa with pride.
“I am truly grateful for all the opportunities that Safa has afforded me and to Sasol for their continued support for women’s football. “I have played alongside legends such as Portia Modise, Veronica Phewa and Nompumelelo Nyandeni. Football has given me an opportunity not only to play football but also to also pursue my studies and travel the world.
“My journey has allowed me to lead the national team to their first historical Olympic Games, and now I say goodbye to the Banyana Banyana with 105 caps to my name.”
The 29-year-old from Harding in KwaZulu-Natal has a number of initiatives to empower young women, while she also works as an analyst on SuperSport.
“I am proud of what I have achieved while I was in the national team, but all of this would not have been possible without my supporters, sponsors, family and friends,” Dlamini said.
“Thank you for always believing in the dreams of a young girl from the dusty streets of Harding. Many of you have sacrificed so much to allow me to be a reflection of possibility by working with me to help me achieve my dreams.
“As a former senior member of the team, I will continue to support female footballers in South Africa and continue to advocate for women’s football.
“I look forward to exploring other career avenues in football and I will continue to work on the Amanda Dlamini Girls Foundation, which was inspired by my journey in the national team.
“This is not goodbye from football; it is merely ending a chapter in my journey.”