Tshepo Ntsoelengoe
Football Writer
2 minute read
10 Nov 2021
1:46 pm

Banyana maestro Motlhalo on amassing 50 caps at just 23

Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

'If you’d asked me as a young girl if I’d be hitting my half-century for Banyana then I’d have laughed at you, but here we are,' said Motlhalo

At just 23 years, Linda Motlhalo is the latest Banyana player to hit 50 caps. Picture: Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Not many manage to play 50 games for their senior national team at only 23-years, but Banyana Banyana and Djurgardens midfielder Linda Motlhalo has managed to reach that feat.

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Motlhalo made her half a century appearances for the South African senior national women’s team when she featured for Banyana in the team’s Africa Women’s Cup of Nations qualifiers match against Mozambique last month.

 Making it more special, the midfielder scored a brace to help the team secure a 13-0 aggregate victory over the Mozambicans, having won the first leg 7-0 and the return leg 6-0.

“It’s crazy, really…I never thought that at just 23-years-old I’d be earning my 50th cap in the colours of my country. And to get two goals to mark the occasion was perfect. It makes me incredibly proud to play for South Africa – so to do it 50 times is amazing,” wrote Motlhalo on her website.

“I can’t believe it’s been over five years since I made my debut. I scored in that game, too. My 50 games have included a hat-trick against Malawi in 2018, and I’m genuinely so happy that I’ve managed to keep scoring for my nation, 15 goals in total. Wow, such a blessing.”

Motlhalo, who has had spells in the US, China and now in Sweden for Djugardens, a side she joined last year, says the move was perfect for her. And she believes in hard work, but never thought that she would have reached this milestone as a young girl.

“When I joined Djurgårdens, it was exactly what I needed. I ended up right where I was meant to be, and I’m enjoying my football journey. As much as I am enjoying it, I have faced so many challenges. The disappointments, defeats, mistakes that I’ve made and I’m working on fixing them,” she continued.

“If you are a persistent person, though, and if you work hard and believe in yourself, then you can continue to grow. If you can accept your mistakes and the willingness to learn from them, then you will always win in the end.

“To reach 50 caps is a huge milestone for me, and I hope that there are plenty more to come. I am very grateful and blessed. If you’d asked me as a young girl if I’d be hitting my half-century caps for Banyana Banyana then I’d have laughed at you – but here we are. As I said, God’s timing truly is always right. Thank you again for your love and support… I’m truly humbled.”