South Africa: Banyana Banyana Forward Signs for Cyprus Club

Banyana Banyana forward Rhoda Mulaudzi has signed a one-year long deal with Apollon Ladies FC from Cyprus.

She is the first to sign a contract after the South African Senior Women's National Team participated at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France.

Mulaudzi is also the first South African woman player to sign for a club in Cyprus.

She will be wearing jersey number 12.

The forward was on the books of Canberra United in Australia but her contract came to an end before the World Cup.

"I am so excited about this move, and I am almost certain it will open doors for other players to come this side. What makes me even happier is that I will be playing in the UEFA Women Champions League - in terms of levels this is the second highest in the game after the World Cup, and now it is a dream come true," said an elated Mulaudzi from Cyprus after signing the deal.

The former Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies FC player says her move came about in a very strange way, but because she had a lot of belief she followed it through.

"I still don't believe how it happened. The vice president of the club in-boxed me on Facebook, asking if I was available to join their team - and at first I thought it was a scam. But my faith pushed me to go ahead and probe further, and here I am today seeing another dream come true," added Mulaudzi.

"I am so happy I don't even know what to say - this is just a good indication that when God says yes no one can say no. He has been really amazing to me - first taking me to Australia, then getting a chance again in the national team, playing in the World Cup and now this, what more can I ask for?"

She now joins the likes of Leandra Smeda (Sweden), Jermaine Seoposenwe and Nothando Vilakazi (both Lithuania), Linda Motlhalo and Thembi Kgatlana (China) as well Ode Fulutudilu (Spain) as some of the Banyana Banyana contingent plying their trade overseas.

Mulaudzi's first match for her new club is on 7 August 2019 in a Champions League clash. They have been drawn are in Group 7 against Braga FC (Portugal), Rigas FS (Latvia) and Sturm Graz (Australia).

"I am so looking forward to this competition, and I am very happy to be playing at this level. - however, it just seems too far. I can't wait to get on the pitch," said Mulaudzi.

Her first league match in September.

Apollon Ladies FC boasts players from around the world, mainly in Europe - Greece, England, Hungary, Scotland, Slovakia and Romania.

CLUB FACTFILE:

Apollon Ladies FCis a women's football team from Cyprus

Established in 2007

It is the leading club in the country, having won nine consecutive doubles

It is associated with men's side Apollon Limassol

Apollon made headlines after beating two-times European champion Umeå IK in their second appearance in the Champions League. This is regarded as one of the biggest surprises in European women's football

Apollon reached the Round of 32, where it was knocked out by Zvezda Perm

Apollon again progressed past the qualifying stage in the 2011-12, 2012-13 and the 2013-14 season

LEAGUE FACT FILE

The Cypriot First Division is the top division of women's football in Cyprus

It has been running since its establishment by the Cyprus Football Association (C.F.A) during the 1998-99 season

The winning team of the league qualifies for a spot in the UEFA Women's Champions League

Although a Cypriot team entered the Champions League every year from 2003-04 onwards, in 2008-09 Apollon Limassol became the first team to win a point in those competitions

There is no second league in Cyprus as of 2014, thus there is no relegation in place

APOLLON LADIES FC FACT TILE:

Cypriot First Division (10 titles):

2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2018-19

Cypriot Cup (10):

2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18

Cypriot Super Cup (7):

2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017

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