18 October 2014 12:59
Nompumelelo Nyandeni is not a name that rings a bell, but she is one of the most famous South African women footballers.
At 27, she has achieved so much with the Banyana Banyana and has already reached the 100 cap milestone. She achieved that feat in their day two clash at the TN Mobile 9th African Women Championship Namibia 2014 against Ghana, and climaxed it with being voted the TN Mobile Woman of the Match.
The midfielder joins the like of Portia Modise (116 caps) and Janine Van Wyk (106 caps) to reach that feat.
In an interview with Cafonline.com, the midfielder talks about her career and her aspirations. Below are excerpts
Cafonline.com: How do feel after achieving a milestone of 100 caps at 27 years?
Nompumelelo Nyandeni: It is a huge honour for me, and I am very happy about this achievement.
How difficult has bit it been to maintain consistency over the years?
It has been very difficult, this world is full of up’s and downs. There are many challenges along the way but with God on your side, things work out.
When did you make your Banyana Banyana debut?
My first match for Banyana Banyana was in 2002 against Zambia. I never imagined myself reaching this huge accolade 12 years on.
Who were some of your playing mates when you made your debut and how difficult was it getting into the team?
I played with Portia Modise, Desiree Eliis and Veronica Phewa amongst others. It was extremely difficult getting into the squad because I was 15 years old at the time.
What has been your inspiration thus far and what are the low and high points of your career?
My inspiration has always been my brother (Sipho Nyandeni). He taught me how to play football as we are growing up, though he never played professionally. My lowest point in my career was not being able to represent my country at the 2010 African Women Championship which South Africa hosted. This is because my Russian club Rossiyanka refused to release me. My highest points was reaching the UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter finals in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 with Rossiyanka and getting called back to the National team.
How did you get into football?
I always spent time following my brother when he went to play. I fell in love with the sport and they taught me everything I know. I owe my career to my big brother, Sipho.
Is Banyana in a good stead to finally reach the World Cup for the first time?
I believe in the team, and this is our dream for I am confident that we still have an opportunity to make it to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.