Previous World Cup experience was pivotal to my evolution as a footballer – Andile Dlamini speaks Ahead of FIFA World Cup

Andile ‘Sticks’ Dlamini is one of the six Sundowns Ladies who made the final 23-woman squad of Banyana Banyana, who will be participating in this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup which starts in just under a week in Australia and New Zealand.

Sticks, who started two matches when South Africa made its debut in 2019, believes that the experience she gained at that tournament was crucial to her overall development as a player.

“The experience of playing at the FIFA World Cup in 2019 had a profound impact on me as a player. It allowed me to see football from a different perspective and gain a fresh understanding of the game. The intensity and magnitude of the tournament helped me appreciate the emotions that come with competing at such a high level. It reminded me that, ultimately, we are all human beings and the pressure and passion of the game can evoke powerful emotions,” said the Sundowns Ladies goalkeeper.

The reigning African champions find themselves in Group G, where they will face formidable opponents such as Sweden, Argentina and Italy. Andile believes that this group presents an exciting challenge for the team.

“While we acknowledge the experience gained four years ago, this year’s edition presents a different kind of challenge. There are different hosting countries this time around and the teams in our group are also different. We understand that each tournament has its challenges and opportunities and we are prepared to adapt and overcome whatever obstacles come our way. Our commitment to success remains unwavering and we are ready to give our all in pursuit of our goals,” Sticks added.

On her favorite World Cup hero who has inspired her the most, Andile states, “I have always admired and drawn inspiration from former American goalkeeper Hope Solo. Her exceptional skills as a goalkeeper and her ability to command the game was truly remarkable. She demonstrated great resilience and determination, consistently performing at the highest level. Solo’s impact on women’s football and her achievements on the World Cup stage has left a lasting impression on me.”

Andile was consistently reliable for South Africa as she played a crucial role in Banyana Banyana’s first-ever Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco last year. Her exceptional shot-stopping abilities proved invaluable as Banyana conceded a mere three goals throughout their journey to a historic title. Consequently, Andile deservedly received the prestigious accolade of ‘Goalkeeper of the Tournament’. Andile was also named the Best Goalkeeper of the Group Stage by CAF.

The shot-stopper was also an integral member of the treble-winning squad with Sundowns Ladies in 2021. Additionally, she has been a part of the team that has secured the Hollywoodbets Super League title three times in a row, showcasing her consistency and skill in helping the team achieve historic victories.

We extend our warmest wishes to Andile, as well as the entire Banyana Banyana team, as they prepare for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup.

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