TuksSport High School learner chosen to accompany Banyana Banyana on international tournament

Posted on February 26, 2019

For the next few weeks Karabo Dhlamini’s primary focus will not be on scoring high marks in class tests, but on outfoxing some of the world’s best female footballers with her dribbling skills.

The Grade 12 learner from TuksSport High School has been selected to travel with the Banyana Banyana team, which will be competing in the Cyprus Cup Tournament (27 February to 6 March). If nothing unforeseen happens, such as getting injured, there’s a real chance she might also be in action during the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France (7 June to 7 July).

It’s not the first time that the 18-year-old will be playing for the South African senior national side. Dhlamini debuted in January against the Netherlands in Cape Town. Those 20 or so minutes that she spent on the field in the coveted “green and gold”, is something she will cherish forever. And don’t believe that she was overawed by the experience.

“I did what I always do, and that was to play to the best of my ability,” said the TuksSport High School learner, who represented the South African under-17 side at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Uruguay last year.

Her teammates nicknamed her “Cream” – and with good reason – as, like cream, she always rises to the top.

Her coach at the Safa High-Performance Centre based at Tuks, Sheryl Botes, said she realised from day one that Dhlamini has a special talent.

“It became abundantly clear the moment she started dribbling the ball that she is extremely talented. Apart from being highly disciplined and hungry to be the best, she has the added advantage of being a left-footer.”

Dhlamini’s preferred position is as a midfielder, but in the past, she has also done duty as a left and right back as well as a left-winger.

“I really don’t care which position I play. The only thing that matters is that I get to play,” says Dhlamini whose passion for football was ignited when she started playing the game with the boys in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni, where she grew up.

“At first my mom was not too keen on me playing football, as she believed it was unladylike. However, after a teacher explained to her that women’s football was quite a prestigious sport, she became my biggest fan.”

Dhlamini lives by quite simple principles, on and off the field. One of her favourite sayings is that what does not destroy her makes her stronger. She also believes in living life to the full. Then there is: be happy with what you have while working for what you want.”

As a “philosopher” she once commented on social media: “Sometimes we struggle through a tasteless, bitter cup of coffee until the last sip, but then we find sugar lying at the bottom. That’s life sweetened, but not stirred well.”

As her opponents can attest, she definitely does not leave things unstirred whenever she takes to the field.

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