Andile ‘Sticks’ Dlamini has been named Sports Personality of the Year at this year’s edition of the Gauteng Sports Awards after her spectacular performances for both club and country. The prestigious event, which was hosted by the Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, took place at the Tshwane University of Technology in Soshanguve.
Sticks played a pivotal role as Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies clinched the Hollywoodbets Super League title for the third year in a row. The Johannesburg-born shot-stopper was also part of the Banyana Banyana side that famously clinched the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco and was named ‘Goalkeeper of the Tournament’.
Andile pipped Pieter Du Preez (Cycling), Lara Van Niekerk (Swimming) and Asanda Isaac Bidla (Blind Cricket) to the award.
“The nomination at the Gauteng Sports Awards got me very excited, and I was even more shocked when I was announced as the winner of the category because I was paired with very strong contenders who had won laurels in their respective sports. I couldn’t have won this award without the support of my teammates and the technical team, who provided constant support. I also praise the club for the support system they have created, which enables players to fulfil their potential,” Andile stated.
Beyond her objective of winning titles this year, the Sundowns goalie has also expressed her keenness to contribute significantly to other areas of the team.
“Thanks to the club, I have garnered valuable experiences both from the domestic league and international competitions. Therefore, I am keen to continue to improve the younger generation of female players so that they can become more successful and reach even greater heights in their careers. It is important to me that we create a strong legacy and inspire future generations to pursue their dreams with confidence and determination,” said Dlamini.
According to Coach Jerry ‘Kappa’ Tshabalala, Andile’s recognition serves to boost the morale of the team and strengthen their sense of unity and purpose.
“Andile’s well-deserved recognition as the Sports Personality of the Year is a testament to her hard work and dedication and serves as a great motivator for other players to follow in her footsteps. The team is proud of Andile and her achievement, and we believe that she is a positive role model for young players who aspire to achieve success. We hope that her recognition will inspire more players to work hard and strive for excellence, both on and off the field, and that her success will continue to shine a light on the potential of women’s football in the country,” Kappa stated.
On some of the qualities that make her a great goalkeeper, Coach Jerry said, “She is an excellent communicator on the pitch and, like modern-day goalkeepers, she is comfortable playing out from the back. Her confidence levels are remarkable whether she is playing with three defenders in front of her or even four. Additionally, she is a skilled handler of the ball, and her long-ball playing ability is truly incredible. As her coach, we have played a significant role in her evolution as a goalkeeper.”
A few days after being named Sports Personality of the Year at the Gauteng Sports Awards, Sticks was part of the Banyana Banyana side that impressed at the Turkish Women’s Cup after beating Uzbekistan 3-0 and drawing 1-1 with Slovenia.