Lebogang Rakhuduwe is a 24-year-old lady who plays a key role as a central midfielder for Gauteng based, Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies FC. This is a female football player with one of the beautiful stories on how she ended up playing football. In 2011 she played was part of the Gauteng u19 team that participated in the South African Games in Limpopo and going forward she grabbed everything with both hands to make it rain. More importantly, her leadership skills showed what type of a leader she was going to be in future and the rest is history after few years down the line. As she once said to
#SportsMvt: “I feel like I was born to be a leader”.
Well known as Tsawe, she is a prolific player has been involved in a number of tournaments like ABSA Women’s League, Varsity Football and Sasol League, simply drawing the positive conclusions about her exciting football journey. In 2016 her career came all together with a serious blow up that gave her a convincing payback to look forward to the exciting times in future. On the 16th of September 2016, Tsawe was named Player of the Match in the Varsity Football tournament and 7 days down the line, 22nd of September she scored a beautiful long range shot that was crucial to set things apart between TUT and UWC in the Varsity Football final. In October 2016, Lebogang got her international call up to Banyana Banyana national team which was quite historic after 6 years of rising and grinding to get things right for her football career. However, with such a profile you will never ignore her capabilities and input to Banyana Banyana squad going forward due to contributing key input to her current team Mamelodi Sundowns in the Sasol League.
On 11th of July 2017,
#SportsMvt and Lebogang held their first Q&A session and this is what she had to say:
1. Tell me about your football journey, where did you start until today?
I used to be a netball player, played for a team called Rumar. It had both Netball and football (men only). This other day at school (Kwadedangendlale High School) they requested for ladies who are interested in playing football since they didn’t have a ladies team. My friend and I decided to join. So my Netball coach (Rusma coach, Ta Mluks) came to watch our game against Lavela secondary. I guess he then saw potential and told me I’ll be training with the boys from the following week. I was the only girl then but eventually, some ladies joined and we had a ladies team. This was in 2009/2010 I was then approached by Lusaka ladies, which played in the Absa women’s league in West Rand. Within half a season, I was then selected to be part of the Gauteng ABSA women’s team 2011 that participated in the Under 19 Absa women’s. I participated in the Under 19 Absa women’s championships in Richards Bay, that is where I met TUT PTA football coach Tebogo Mokae who then gave me an opportunity to study at the Tshwane University of Technology.
2. What has been the best highlight of your career?
My biggest highlight would be my 1st Banyana Banyana call up in October 2016 against Egypt. Another highlight is winning the CUCSA Games 2016 in Zimbabwe with the USSA national team and being vice captain of that team.
3. What are your memorable moments regarding the Varsity Football tournament?
Winning the Varsity football tournament 3 consecutive years of which I was captain of the team when we clinched it for the 3rd time. I was also named a player of the tournament in the very same year.
4. Did you ever think twice about your move from TUT to Mamelodi Sundowns?
It was not an easy move as I have been with TUT for 5 years, winning various tournaments with the team, TUT grew me. They made me who I am today and I have achieved a lot under them, from getting my 1st Banyana Banyana call up to being part of the USSA National team. Then again we all need change. Mamelodi Sundowns is a great team and I believe I’ll grow more there. I’m happy with the move.
5. How is life since you joined Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies?
Hahaha, there’s too much pressure but I can handle it. People expect me to be at my peak and it wasn’t easy at 1st cause I had just come from an injury, the league was on and I had to pick myself up very quickly. I managed to work hard and get to where the coaches wanted me to be and game time has also helped me to get there.
6. Despite helping the team to win games, what role do you play in the team?
I believe I am very much motivational. I can never let my teammate underperform while I’m there. I always make sure I motivate them to do well. I’m a crazy soul, always love seeing my teammates smiling. I bring a positive attitude and like building positive relationships. Oh and I love to sing, which worked very well in bringing the team together when I was still at TUT and during University games.
7. Do you think Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies has all ingredients to go all the way to win the National Championship (SasolLeague)?
Most definitely. Despite the quality of players we have, our the hard work and dedication will drive us to the right direction. I believe we will go to the National play offs and also win them.
8. What are your short and long term goals?
After this long-term injury, I want to work hard again so that I can get my name into the Banyana again. I’d also like to see myself playing for a team in Europe.
You follow Lebogang Rakhuduwe on Twitter: @Lebogang_Rakhs and Instagram: @7ebogang_rakhuduwe