Bambanani Mbane looks back at the tough journey to recovery

Bambanani  Mbane looks back at the tough journey to recovery

Banyana Banyana and Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies rock solid defender Bambanani “Juice” Mbane says she was inspired by the long recovery story of her teammate Thembi Kgatlana during her rehabilitation process.

Mbane was injured during the FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia in August last year.

She’s been out of action since then and missed crucial Banyana Banyana international friendly matches against the USA in September last year.

Kgatlana also tore her ACL during the 2022 WAFCON tournament and returned just before the World Cup.  

A story that inspired Mbane as well.

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"It was not easy but I think as a player you must think about what you want. I remember when the coach told me that there's no shortcut in rehab, so I thought well look Thembi recovered, so I'm not the first one and I needed to follow the rules of rehab. It wasn't easy but I'm happy that I'm back," Mbane said.

Mbane underwent an operation in Cape Town immediately after returning from Down Under, this also helped because she had the attention of Banyana Banyana assistant coach Thinasonke Mbuli.

Mbane returns just in time for the all-important Olympic qualifier against Nigeria next week and she’s grateful for the role SAFA and Sundowns played in her recovery.

"I don't wanna lie it was a tough journey but I'm happy that the association and Mamelodi Sundowns were there and my family. Remember an injury is draining mentally, you must be fit mentally because it takes time and there's no shortcut in rehab. So, I had to follow the rules for me to recover. I'm happy that my recovery went well and I appreciate the people who supported me throughout my rehab," she added.

Since her return, Mbane has played three matches for Sundowns in the Hollywoodbets Super League and she’s come out unscathed in all these games.

The Stekspruit-born centre-back was on the field when they were shocked by Mbuli’s University of Western Cape team, beating them 1-0. Mbane says they were punished for not taking their chances.

"So far, so good besides the game against UWC where we lost 1-0, it was not a bad one, I think that day against UWC, they had a chance and they used it towards the end of the game. Otherwise, we also created chances but like I said, when you get a chance, you must use it because other teams know how to use their chances then we suffered because didn't use our chances. It doesn't help counting how many attempts we had but so far, so good, we'll bounce back."