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Lebogang Ramalepe (second from right) is congratulated by Lydia Monyepao (former Banyana Banyana player), Desiree Ellis (Banyana Banyana head coach) and Ria Ledwaba, Vice-President of South African Football Association. Photo: Supplied

Top award for local soccer star

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Local female soccer sensation, Lebogang Ramalepe was crowned Queen of Queens at the recent Sasol League National Champions held at Tsakane stadium in Ekurhuleni.
The Banyana Banyana defender and vice-captain represented her club, Ma Indies, the runners-up in the tournament won by JWV Female Football Club.
The 28-year-old Public Management student played an integral role in ensuring that her team secure the second spot and was singled out as the best player of the tournament from scores of players representing the various participating teams.
She dedicated the award to all aspiring female soccer players in the province who are trying to break into the professional ranks. “I was overwhelmed with joy. I really didn’t expect it. There were many good, experienced players that I thought would take the award but I am grateful that it was me. I come from a remote village with minimal resources. So, with this award I hope to inspire female soccer players in the province and show them that through hard work they can accomplish anything,” Ramalepe said.
Polokwane-based Ma Indies is one of the top women’s clubs in the province. Ramalepe joined in 2012 and has been one of their key players ever since. The knowledge and experience she has gained as a Banyana Banyana player is invaluable to the club.
She developed passion for football from the age of 10 while doing Grade 4 at Ga-Maufota Primary School in Ga-Maupa village, Bolebedu area. “I used to watch boys playing soccer during break time and I was curious and all I wanted was to get a feel of the ball and spray a couple of passes. One day I asked if I could play with them and they allowed me on the team. From there it was practise sessions, local school matches and I never looked back,” Ramalepe recallled.
She was part of the national squad that participated at the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil and the Fifa Women’s World Cup in France last year.
She aspires to play for Paris Saint-Germain Female Football Club, a French professional football club based in Paris.“That is my favourite team in the whole world and it would to be great to further my football career there. I just need to work harder in order to achieve that goal. We don’t have lot of female players from the province playing in Europe and my wish is to see more female soccer players from the province heading that direction,” Ramalepe said.
She said she was looking to play in the South African Football Association (Safa) National Women’s League in August.
Her club qualified for the league after claiming the second position of the Sasol League and they will join fellow provincial mates First Touch Academy which is currently campaigning in the Safa league. “I am looking forward to the league. I think it will give us more exposure because we will be playing with other top female football clubs from various provinces every week,” Ramalepe said.
She has over 70 caps for the senior national team and joins a long list of Banyana Banyana players who have reached 70 plus caps for the senior national team.

Story: Herbert Rachuene
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