Banyana Banyana star Hildah Magaia is the epitome of the mantra “hard work pays”.
The girl from rural Dennilton in Limpopo knew she was destined to become a footballer from an early age, and never stopped working to achieve it.
She spent her childhood playing on dusty fields training with boys’ teams, as her area had no girls’ team at the time.
Magaia, now 27, then made the jump to playing for the TUT Ladies. Her unmistakable talent didn’t go unnoticed, and before long she was being touted to play in Europe for Sweden’s Moron BK.
“My dream was to play for Banyana Banyana. Growing up, I was following Portia Modise and I was like, I want to play in the national team and wear jersey No. 12 and play the way she was playing,” Magaia told New Frame.
“I wanted to score goals and do more for the national team.”
Magaia has already established herself as one of the best female footballers ever to come out of South Africa. She won the 2020 Cosafa Women’s Championship and was crowned player of the tournament.
Now, she has her sights set on playing for English giant Chelsea in the future.
Her journey to the top has not been an easy one. When football looked as if it would not work out for Magaia, a local man pleaded with her family to take her to Mamelodi and get her playing on a girls’ team.
Magaia then spent some time playing women’s football in Mamelodi before playing for the University of Pretoria’s women’s team.
During a tournament in 2016, she impressed those at TUT who offered her a role in the team and a chance to study towards a diploma in Business Administration, which she completed last year.
Magaia then signed for Moron BK in Sweden last February with the goal of one day playing alongside some of Europe’s best players.
“Playing professionally and being a woman athlete is not easy, it takes time to get wherever you want to get to. I wish they had told me that when you really want something, you need to be patient enough,” she said.
Image source: @NewFrame