South Africa: Banyana Banyana's Amanda Mthandi Signs in Spain

She becomes the second South African woman football player to make a move to Spain, following in the footsteps of Nothando Vilakazi who has signed for EDF Logrono in the Premier Division last week.

"This came as a complete surprise to me. I started talking to the club a couple of weeks ago but then nothing materialised. I was surprised when talks resumed last week, and before I knew it, they sent me documents to sign," adds Mthandi.

"I was busy with my assignment which is due soon, and I had to put it aside and focus on these document. And now, boom! I am have signed for Badajoz. I am so elated and overwhelmed."

Mthandi, who plays her club football for the University of Johannesburg in the SAFA National Women's League, where she is also studying and says this move won't stop derail her from her education.

"The good thing is that due to Covid-19 and the lockdown, we have been studying from home and writing exams online, so when I move to Spain I will continue with what I have been doing, the way I have been doing it. Also, being in a new place will come in handy as I will have more time to study after training or games -, so I am glad that part of my life will not be disrupted, all I need to do is find the right balance like I have been doing here at home," said Mthandi.

She adds that she has always wanted to sign abroad but never thought it would happen in Spain.

"Like every footballer, my dream was to play abroad - but never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be in one of the best footballing nations, and also so soon. I just can't wait to meet my new teammates, and learn everything there is to know in my new environment. I am really looking forward to this new chapter of my life and I will make sure I represent my country," said Mthandi.

Upon signing on the dotted line, she sent her Banyana Banyana teammates a message of gratitude. The squad had earlier congratulated her on her move.

"Honestly, I am super grateful for all the love, support and warmth you guys have given me. I must say I have the world's best team with me. The share of this victory goes to each one of you because we are a team. As much as we win and lose together, we also achieve and celebrate together. I honestly couldn't ask for better teammates, you made the work a lot easier for me on the field and that is why today I am making this move - it was not an individual effort but a team effort," she said.

"I am honoured to call myself a Banyana Banyana player, and will forever carry the spirit of this wonderful team where I am going. From the bottom of my heart, a huge thank you to all my fellow players, our coaches, physiotherapists, our drivers, video analysts, conditioning coaches, team security, media officers, team doctors as well as our kit manager. I am grateful beyond words and can't wait to start this new journey."

Singing her praises was Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis, who gave the player her debut in Ghana against the host nation in 2018, prior to the start of the 2018 Africa Cup of Nations in that country. Ellis also selected her in the final squad to represent South African in the maiden FIFA Women's World Cup in France.

"Congratulations Amanda, you have worked really hard for this opportunity and have shown the willingness to learn and grow. This is another chance to continue learning and grow even further. All the best on this new and exciting journey. As this is your first professional contract and far away from home, there may be challenges - like weather, food, style of play, being all alone - but I believe you have it in you to succeed despite that. Just remember why you are there and that you carry the dreams of many South Africans back home," said Ellis.

The former Banyana Banyana captain says it does not surprise her that there is a surge in players being snapped up abroad.

"It is quite exciting to see so many Banyana Banyana players moving to overseas clubs, this gives us confidence that the future of this team is very bright. I have always said that this country has a lot of talent and most of that talent should be based abroad, but it is encouraging that more and more are moving overseas - this can only benefit the squad tremendously. Just recently we had Jermaine moving from Spain to Portugal, Bambanani is in Belarus, FIFI has renewed her contract in Italy, Vivo just signed in Spain, Linda is based in Sweden - and we have many more in Albania, Turkey, the USA, Serbia and Finland, and that is just awesome."

This is will be Mthandi's first professional contract.

The 24 year old's rise is not surprising as she has featured regularly for Banyana Banyana since making her debut.

She becomes the second signing of the club before the start of the season.

Mthandi is currently waiting to start her Visa application so she can start making her way to Spain.

It is hoped that this new signing will help Badajoz gain promotion into the Spanish Reto Iberdrola - they finished third with 42 points, thereby missing out on promotion.

The club announced her arrival on their webiste:

"CD Badajoz has reached an agreement with South African international Amanda Mthandi for next season, and she has signed for a season, with an option for a second one [extension option]."

She becomes the fourth Banyana Banyana player to play in Spain - after Ode Fulutudilu (now in Finland), Jermaine Seoposenwe (moved to Portugal) and Nothando Vilakazi, who signed for Logrono last week.

CLUB FACTFILE:

Club Deportivo Badajoz Femenino, formerly known as Sociedad Polideportiva Comarca Los Llanos de Olivenza and Club de Fútbol Femenino Badajoz Olivenza, is a Spanish women's football club from Olivenza in Badajoz, Extremadura

founded in 2003.

History

2003-2013: SPC Los Llanos de Olivenza

After spending six years in the second tier, SPC Llanos de Olivenza attained promotion to the country's top category in 2011 by topping its group and beating Abanto Club and Fundación Albacete in the play-offs

2013-2017: CFF Badajoz Olivenza

Two years later it was relegated to Segunda División.

Llanos de Olivenza then merged with CFF Badajoz, taking its current name and changing its uniform from red-and-white stripes and blue shorts to black-and-white stripes and black shorts and integrating its structure in men's club CD Badajoz.

In 2014 it lost the promotion playoffs spot to Santa Teresa CD.

2017-present: CD Badajoz

In 2017, after seven years of collaboration in between CFF Badajoz was integrated into CD Badajoz

Badajoz League Competition record

Season Division Place

2003-06 Reg.

2006-07 2ª 7th

2007-08 2ª 3rd

2008-09 2ª 2nd

2009-10 2ª 3rd

2010-11 2ª 1st

2011-12 1ª 11th

2012-13 1ª 15th

2013-14 2ª 2nd

2014-15 2ª 2nd

2015-16 2ª 8th

2016-17 Reg. 2nd

2017-18 Reg. 3rd

2018-19 Reg. 1st

AMANDA MTHANDI FACTFILE:

FORWARD

DOB: 23 May 1996

Birthplace: Soweto, Gauteng

Club: University of Johannesburg (GAUTENG)

Previous Clubs: Croesus (Ekurhuleni)

Current League: SAFA Women's National League

Banyana Debut: vs Ghana, 11 November 2018 in Ghana

Top Honours:

2014 U-20 Zone 6 Games Champions

2018 University Sport South Africa (USSA) Champions and Top Goalscorer (9) and Player of the Tournament

2018 COSAFA Cup Champion

2018 AWCON 2nd Place

2019 COSAFA Cup Champion

2019 FIFA Women's World Cup

More From: SAFA

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