Milestone for Banyana goalkeeper Dlamini
Dlamini’s national team debut dates back to 2011 after featuring between the sticks as the South Africans suffered a 1-0 loss at the hands of neighbours Botswana in Polokwane. However, since then, Dlamini has been an integral figure in the national team.
In 2018, the 27-year-old goalie played second fiddle to Kaylin Swart as Banyana qualified for their first ever Fifa Women’s World Cup, which was hosted in France last year.
However, Dlamini stood head and shoulders above her compatriot, donning the No 1 jersey at the global showpiece.
The Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper pulled off some incredible saves for the national team, but there was little she could do to stop South Africa losing to Spain, China and Germany in the round robin of the global showpiece.
From thereon South Africa went from hero to zero, crashing out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifiers after losing to Botswana at home early in September.
However, after losing to Japan in the last friendly match in November, Banyana will get a chance to bounce back against Lesotho.
Set to start between the sticks, Dlamini will make her half-century appearance for the senior women’s national team - getting closer to Thokozile Mndaweni’s record of 89 caps for South Africa.
“Firstly, I still need to work because coach (Desiree Ellis) selects the best in the country. But it’s really amazing that I am going to get my 50th cap, which I’ve worked super, super hard for in the last 10 years,” Dlamini explained.
“It’s amazing that as goalkeeper, I’ve been patient and here I am speaking about a 50th cap. And you know how it is in this world, lives are taken, but I am glad that I can see this happening on Sunday (today) when it happens.”
With Ellis having assembled only locally-based players, among them 10 uncapped players, Dlamini will be one of the senior players.
She will, moreover, supervise goalkeeper Mapaseka Mpuru who’s yet to don the green and yellow jersey of the national team despite being in the national team set-up for a while.
“I’d advise her (the upcoming goalkeepers) to be patient. I’d advise her to do her best and let God do the rest. I’d also advise her to leave everything on the field of play because if you do that you are likely to be selected for the next camp,” Dlamini said this week at training.
The South Africans may not be campaigning for any major tournament at the moment but getting a win over Lesotho will serve as a huge morale boost for their upcoming Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (Awcon) later this year.
The Awcon was, after all, the tournament that ensured the South Africans booked their spot in the maiden World Cup - a reason why they will be hoping to challenge for a top two finish in next year’s continental showpiece if they qualify.