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Lebo flying the national flag high

Lebohang Ramalepe, the right back wing of Banyana Banyana, says winning the Women's Africa Cup Of Nations (WAFCON) is a dream come true for her.

The 30-year-old from Ga-Maupa in Bolobedu, was one of the players who won the trophy for the ladies soccer national team in Morocco in July. She told the Herald that growing up she never dreamt that a village girl like her, can one day play in big stadiums and win a big tournament of that stature. She says her love for soccer started from an early age and she started playing with the boys in grade 4 during breaks.

However, her journey of representing the country was not an easy one. She played for several teams in the Sasol League, including Fighters FC, King Stars, and Kanatla Ladies. Lebohang Ramelepe is playing in Belarus. Lebogang Ramalepe is playing for Dinamo Minsk FC. In 2011 she received two call-ups for the national trials, but on both occasions, she was not selected.

“At that time I felt dejected, as I had just passed my matric and did not have money to go to varsity and I felt soccer was my only option to success. I ended up leaving the club and went to stay with my aunt in Thembisa, but I received a life-changing call from Philemon Mdaka of Maindies FC. He convinced me to play for his team and promised to take care of me and groom me as a player.

Also read: “We are as capable as men”

In 2014, with Mdaka’s grooming, she managed to make it to the Banyana Banyana squad. “Ever since I have been with the national team,” she explained. Since 2020 she has been playing for Dinamo Minsk FC in Belarus and said she is loving every moment. She further said that she only managed to support her family when she moved overseas, as the money was much better. “For so many years, I was struggling to support myself and my family, because ladies’ soccer is not well sponsored in our country.

“From far you may think everything is rosy, but it wasn’t,” she said. The South African Football Association and Sasol tried their best to support us for many years. When there is a lack of sponsors, players suffer. “Companies need to start realising that female footballers are as capable as male players and need to start supporting us,” she added. Ramalepe added that her uncles, David and Elvis Ramalepe and Mdaka played a big role in her career success. She concluded by encouraging anyone with a dream to keep on pushing regardless of the challenges.

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