Banyana Banyana defender Bambanani Mbane talks 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Mamelodi Sundowns and motivation.
PUMA: You have just returned from the World Cup – your favourite moments?
Bambanani Mbane: Becoming history makers by being the first South African football team to qualify for the final 16 at a World Cup, and the friendliness of everyone in the host country made the experience extra special for me.
What are your most significant victories?
Winning the CAF Champions League with Mamelodi Sundowns and WAFCON with the national team, are my highlights.
Why is Mamelodi Sundowns such a success story?
A winning mentality. We do not settle for mediocrity.
What are the strengths of the Sundowns women’s team?
The planning, the quality of players and spot-on tactics from the technical team.
What do you love about your position?
I’m a centre back, a position which allows me to communicate with my teammates, and I have full view of the pitch to better guide my midfielders and attackers.
Which parts of your game have improved the most during your time at Sundowns?
I can now move the ball much quicker and pass the ball between the lines with ease.
Tell us about your time in Belarus?
They are a team that focuses on basics and discipline. That helped alot with my passing technique and the confidence to score goals.
Is empowerment, especially girls and women’s empowerment, something you would like to pursue going forward?
The next generations are our future, so I would love to get involved in education and sports initiatives.
Your advice to girls who feel barriers are blocking their dreams?
If you have a dream, be driven and committed, then anything is possible.
Where do you draw strength in times of stress?
My wife is my strength. She is always present and walked the journey with me since we met.
What boots do you wear and why do they work for you?
PUMA Ultra boots. Extremely comfortable and light.
What attracted you to partner with PUMA?
It’s a big brand that take care of its athletes.
Favourite PUMA items?
I just like all their offerings. PUMA provides a shoe for every occasion. So, I’m covered.
What motivates you to put in the hours of hard work?
I was raised by a single parent who sacrificed a lot for me, so I live and do everything to provide my mom with a better life.
You are active on social media – what type of content do you like to share?
My life journey, on and off the pitch.