After spending a large chunk of her football career in the Sasol Women’s League with Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies, Mbane finally made her long-awaited move to Europe early this year, joining Belarusian Women’s Premier League side Dinamo Mins Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix
After spending a large chunk of her football career in the Sasol Women’s League with Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies, Mbane finally made her long-awaited move to Europe early this year, joining Belarusian Women’s Premier League side Dinamo Mins Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

Banyana's Mbane makes magic in Minsk debut

By Mihlali Baleka Time of article published May 2, 2020

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Bambanani Mbane appeared to have jumped the gun when she decided to marry Tsholofelo, whom she had dated for only three months, but such have been the returns, the Banyana Banyana defender looks back at her decision with glee.

After spending a large chunk of her football career in the Sasol Women’s League with Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies, Mbane finally made her long-awaited move to Europe early this year, joining Belarusian Women’s Premier League side Dinamo Minsk.

The new developments meant that Mbane had to leave her family behind in South Africa and also be apart from her wife Tsholofelo, who’s based in Doha, the capital city of the State of Qatar.

The new life in Belarus required a fearless and a homesick-free Mbane, especially after the government gave the commencement of football activities the green light, despite the country having recorded 14 027 confirmed cases of the coronavirus pandemic and 89 deaths (by the time of going to print).

Mbane, though, has been that girl and she remembered why she made the move in the first place. She has, however, garnered a lot of strength and support from her wife, whom she communicates with regularly.

“I am very excited when it comes to my marriage. We’ve always told ourselves not to mind the distance but our love should always come first. Communication is always the best and that helps us a lot,” Mbane said.

“We’ll be finishing nine months in our marriage this month, and we’ve been together for a year. I am grateful to God for her. She’s very supportive and I love her every day. Every day there’s really an improvement in our marriage, despite the distance. So, communication is key.”

The backing that Mbane has been receiving from her wife and family has been the fuel that has seen her hit top gear from the outset for new kids on the block, Minsk.

On Thursday the 30-year-old defender made her full debut for the club as the Premier League got under way.

And needless to say, “Nolali” announced her arrival in style, playing 54 minutes of the match and setting up two goals as Minsk thrashed rivals Abff Wu-19 7-0 as they climbed to the top of the log standings.

With Minsk having been formed this season, many might suggest that Mbane and company may have to dig deep to cement their status in the league. But the South African international believes she’s in the right environment to take her career to the next level.

“The culture on this side is very professional. We play two touches at training and during matches. That’s something that you have to quickly adapt to considering we are used to holding the ball for a long time in South Africa,” Mbane explained.

“I think paying attention to small details is what makes European players successful. But all in all, I am really happy to be here. I can’t complain about anything so far. I’ve just been fearing for my family’s safety during this Covid-19 but I’ve been interacting with them a lot.”

Overall, it’s been 12 months of bliss for Mbane: representing Banyana in their first ever Women’s World Cup in France, getting married and signing her first professional contract.

The Sterkspruit-born player credits her humble beginnings for all the success.

“I spent a lot of time in South Africa, playing in the Sasol League. It was a good thing for me because I was able to travel and it enabled me to play for the national team which I also represented in the World Cup,” Mbane explained.

@MihlaliBaleka 


Independent on Saturday

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