Antonia Maponya has hailed her Banyana Banyana debut as a dream come true and insisted it is just the start of things to come following their 3-0 defeat to Zambia in an international friendly match this past weekend.
The 22-year-old defender has also represented South Africa at the junior level, playing for both the U-17 and U-20 before graduating to the national senior women’s team.
Maponya has emerged as one of the exciting talents in the Hollywoodbets Super League for the University of the Western Cape.
“At first, the call-up was overwhelming but I was able to calm myself down as I am familiar with some of my teammates whom I played with in the Hollywoodbets Super League and others from the junior levels,” said the Banyana rising star.
“The intensity at training was challenging but I had support from other players and that helped me settle in well.
“My debut was not bad despite a few mistakes at the beginning but I enjoyed the experience of playing at the highest level with high intensity and that taught me so much.”
The defender went on to say that it is not easy to juggle both a football career and a hectic University schedule, however, by God’s grace she has managed to pull it through as they were taught how to balance the two.
“It’s not easy juggling school and football but as someone who spent her time at HPC it was not too hard as we were taught how to find a fine balance between school and sports and that’s how I managed. However, it becomes challenging at times especially when travelling is involved and while trying to meet deadline at the same time,’’ she added.
“As a woman footballer in South Africa, opportunities are scarce as compared to our male counterparts and that is why education is important. Education serves as a fallback plan, say should one suffer a career-ending injury. I would greatly encourage education for all players to take seriously.”
Now, Maponya has her sights set on forcing her way into the Banyana starting line-up when they face Algeria in the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) on Friday, 18 February at Orlando Stadium.