30-year-old Limpopo princess, who ditched her crown for soccer, has won the Woman Player of The Year award courtesy of South African Journalist Awards (SAFJA).
For many, being a member of a royal family is a dream they wish to come true, and for one to be a royal and quit duties for football is totally unimaginable.
Well, Rhoda Mulaudzi did exactly that. She loved football from a young age and sometimes had to play barefoot with the boys due to the lack of a girls’ team in Limpopo, where she was a princess of the Venda.
Mulaudzi was bold enough to tell her mother that she was interested in football not royalty, and her boldness is now paying off.
“When I was young, they tried to stop me from playing football, but I refused and told them I was not interested in royal duties, my mom was not happy,
“The only thing I wanted to do was play football, and that’s why I’m here because I had faith and believed in myself, one day I wanted to see myself playing for the national team and playing overseas, and here I am playing Canberra United,” she said to The Sydney Morning Herald.
Mulaudzi’s father has always been by her side throughout her journey. Though her mother was not always been supportive, she is now her number one fan.
She rose from being an ordinary street soccer player to being an international striker. She has played for Australian side, Canberra United. Even though, to her, the way that South African football is played is quite different from Australia in terms of professionalism, she still managed to score four goals from 12 appearances in her Women’s League debut.
She then went on to play for Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies back in South Africa, leading them to a SAFA National Women’s League triumph. There she scored 36 goals in 18 appearances, becoming the top goal scorer for the season.
The superstar recently assisted her team Dinamo BSU in taking the Belarus Women’s Cup home and her award came a day after winning the Cup. The award, which comes with a R10,000 prize, was humbly received by Mulaudzi who said success seems to follow her name and she has hopes that more will be done in South Africa in terms of advancing women’s football.
“Recently in South Africa, we were just crowned the Women’s National Women’s League Champions. It means I am a champion everywhere that I go so I feel blessed. I believe that it [the Belarus Women’s Cup win] was all down to teamwork and our team spirit. I have never won anything overseas so it was the first time for me to lift a trophy here. I can’t even describe the amazing feeling I had,” she said to News24.
She also gave some advice to fellow female players in the same publication.
“All I can say is, to all the women out there playing football, it’s possible for any player to go overseas and shine.”
Mulaudzi, whose decorated career has taken her to Australia, Cyprus and Belarus, also plays for the national women’s team, Banyana Banyana. She was part of the team that made history by representing South Africa for the first time at the FIFA Women’s World Cup (2019) in France.
Phoebie Shamiso Chigonde is a journalist passionate about gender equality, social development programmes and grassroots-based solution seeking initiatives. She has a passion for women and community development. Phoebie is also a radio personality at a regional commercial radio station, a platform that enables her to network with like-minded women, journalists and activists as she continues to document and tell the story of the ordinary woman from the lens of that very ordinary woman.