Former Banyana star Amanda the big Sister to UFH football family

Read time: 3 mins

Former Banyana Banyana defender Amanda Sister is using her vast international experience to help Fort Hare rise up the ranks of women’s football.

 

Former Banyana Banyana player Amanda Sister has little doubt that Fort Hare’s Baby Wolves have the potential to reach the summit of the Hollywoodbets Super League in years to come.

The veteran defender joined UFH shortly after Easter and her influence on the team has been significant, even when not on the field herself.

Having plied her trade in South Africa’s elite football competition for years, during which time she represented the national side on 49 occasions, the wisdom she has been able to impart on her teammates has been invaluable.

Yet they had been just as vital to her, Sister said, especially since they had been instrumental in her return to full fitness after a two-year layoff due to a series of ankle and knee injuries.

Tellingly, she was adamant that with the right support, resources and structures there was every reason to believe that Fort Hare could challenge the likes of Mamelodi Sundowns – giants of both the men’s and women’s game – one day.

The 34-year-old hails from Veeplaas in Gqeberha and is a staunch advocate for women’s football in the Eastern Cape and especially proud to be playing for a team based in the province.

Too often, she said, players from these parts were overlooked for national duty in favour of those from Gauteng and Cape Town.

A friend told her in January that Fort Hare were recruiting players for their debut season in the Super League but she soon learnt that the available spots had been accounted for.

However, a few months down the line, she received a message from university football officer Sibabalo Feni asking if she was still interested in joining the team – an opportunity she was not about to turn down.

“The experience when I arrived at UFH was another level – I wasn’t even halfway fit. It was very difficult to get back to full fitness and I couldn’t even finish my first game back,” she said.

“But everyone was patient with me, and I want to say thank you to everyone who gave me a chance.”

Sister laughed when she recalled how much running she had to do on her arrival – something she had been told was part of the “philosophy” of the club.

While she was not used to that amount of running, she knew she had to suck it up and improve if she wanted to be part of the team.

“The players motivated me to be as fit as they were. Even though I felt like it was too much, this was maybe because I was not up to their standard.” 

The highlight during her playing days with Banyana was qualifying for and playing in the 2012 London Olympics. Winning silverware at the 2010 African Women’s Championships was another special moment.

Representing her country was the ultimate “privilege”, she said.

Sister also played club football in Hungary in 2016.

She often found the language barrier problematic during her time with Győri ETO in Budapest, but thankfully two teammates were able to speak broken English and could translate the coach’s instructions for her.

Now that she is back home and loving her time in Alice, she is giving everything of herself to the Fort Hare cause.

Her side is now placed ninth on the 16-team Super League table, but she is confident that this is only the beginning.

“We are going up – we are not staying there,” she said.

“I want us to become number one, to prove [teams from] Gauteng wrong. Our players are still young and can stay in football for a long time if they listen to the coaches. 

“At Fort Hare we don’t do things as a team – we do them as a family.”

She urged fans to continue showing their incredible support, particularly this month when they faced some tough opponents.

Their next fixtures are at home against JVW FC (June 16), away versus Sundowns (June 22) and at home sweet home against Royal AM (June 29).