Bambanani Mbane has clinched this year’s edition of the South African Football Journalist Association (SAFJA) Women’s Player of the Year. “Juice” beat off competition from her teammates Melinda Kgadiete and Chuene Morifi as well as Sibulele Holweni of the University of Western Cape and Mpumi Nyandeni of JVW to land the prestigious award.
The Eastern Cape-born star enjoyed a superb season with the Brazilians and was an integral member of the treble-winning squad that conquered the Hollywoodbets Super League, COSAFA CAF Women’s Champions League qualifiers, and the inaugural edition of the CAF Women’s Champions League in Egypt last season.
Thanks to Bambanani’s overall defensive abilities and sweeping capabilities, Sundowns kept a whopping 21 clean sheets and conceded only 15 times across three competitions last season. “Juice” was also named among the ‘Squad of the tournament’ at the CAF Women’s Champions League which Sundowns finished as winners without conceding.
Speaking at the SAFJA award ceremony, Bambanani said, “I would love to congratulate my colleagues for the hard work that they put in to be nominated. This award is for the team because we made the Yellow Nation proud as well as ourselves. Thanks to everyone involved in this award. We plan to keep pushing harder in the coming season.”
Mbane received the most votes from a special panel of SAFJA members who cover women’s football, something which excited Coach Jerry Tshabalala.
“I must commend Bambanani for the willingness to work hard both on and off the pitch. This award is the result of her determination and doggedness in the heart of the defense. Since Mbani joined us from Belarus, she has ticked all the right boxes in the way we play and the winning mindset we possess.”
By winning the highly coveted award, Bambanani becomes the second player to be named as the queen of SA football after her club teammate Rhoda Mulaudzi bagged the top honours in 2020.
Congratulations to Bambanani Mbane!