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Amanda Dlamini: Former South African player on ground-breaking Afcon commentary role in Ivory Coast



Amanda Dlamini has gone from captaining her country to the commentary gantry at the 2023 AFCON After winning over a century of caps for South Africa during her playing days, Amanda Dlamini broke new ground at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.

The former midfielder became the first woman employed by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to be an analyst on its official international TV commentary of the continent’s showpiece men’s tournament.

Dlamini says the role is a “major win for women”, but acknowledged the weight of her position scared her at first.

“I was nervous to make sure that I left a good impression. I cover all my stats and tactics because that is my job,” Dlamini told BBC Sport Africa.

“The realization of being the first woman at an Afcon, where the center stage is mostly about men’s football, and having a female voice, surely matters. I thought to myself, ‘Wow, this is history’.

“It’s not just a major win for me in my career, but for many other aspiring women who want to be in the commentary space.”

Dlamini was based in the south-western coastal city of San Pedro and found herself in a unique position for her final co-commentary game at the tournament.

The former midfielder ran the rule over her country’s last-16 knockout tie against Morocco, which ended in a 2-0 victory for Bafana Bafana.

The 35-year-old called the match, which saw South Africa send the continent’s top-ranked team out of the finals, a “super special” moment.

“I’m South African before anything, and this is our national team,” Dlamini added.

“As a former footballer, I know what it’s like to be on the pitch. The emotions were running high, but it’s South Africa at the same time. It was a whole rollercoaster of emotions.”

Dealing with criticism

Dlamini says there was a largely positive reception to her role at the tournament, but she was not immune to negative responses despite her historic achievement.

“We received several negative comments. I think the most recent one said, ‘She’s just there to tick a box’,” Dlamini said.

But, as a former player, she is not new to criticism of her performances – whether on the pitch or a microphone.

While Dlamini welcomes constructive feedback and uses it to improve her craft, she has found ways to “rise above” criticism over time.

“If a negative comment comes through, of course, it will impact you because you’re a human being,” she explained.

“I think I’ve just learned that through meditation, through worship as well, it calms me. I feel like it’s always one of those things where you take it as well with the good criticism and you just have to move on.”




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