Andile Dlamini: the singing goalkeeper
They might be winning games but it doesn’t bring big bucks, says Banyana goalie Andile Dlamini – that’s why she’s branching out into music
THE team has been showered with glory, won several tournament titles and they’ve clinched numerous awards – yet for many players making a living from the game they love so much isn’t easy. Banyana Banyana may be streaks ahead of Bafana Bafana when it comes to winning games but they’re light years behind when it comes to salaries. And so its stars often turn to their other talents in a bid to make ends meet – and Andile Dlamini is a perfect example of this. When the 25-year-old goalkeeper, who is her family’s sole breadwinner, isn’t deflecting balls in the posts, she’s breaking out her moves in the studio and flexing her vocal muscles as a singer. She isn’t the first footballer to branch out into music – remember Benni Mc Carthy’s collab with TKZee on Shibobo back in 1998? For Benni, branching out into music was a bit of fun. For Andile it’s about doing what she loves and yes, it’s also about making some extra cash on the side. It breaks her heart, the Mamelodi Sundowns player says, to see her male counterparts getting “filthy rich” while women players can’t rely on the sport they’re devoted to to make a living. While salary figures are confidential, a 2014 probe by the Democratic Alliance revealed Banyana Banyana players earned between R2 000 and R5 000 a game, while Bafana Bafana players were paid R60 000 each for a winning game and R30 000 for a draw.
And unlike Bafana, Banyana Banyana don’t earn monthly salaries from their teams and have to rely on match fees, daily allowances and bonuses to get by.
The team was crowned the 2017 CAF national team of the year after winning the Cosafa Women’s Championship in Zimbabwe in September last year after they defeated the hosts 2-1. It’s hard not to be bitter, Andile admits. “Knowing you’re playing for the same club and same national team, it’s sad to see men making a lot of money and getting filthy rich.
“They drive posh cars like Bentleys, BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes and Minis while we’re struggling to make a living.
“That’s why I also do music. But, quite frankly, it’s not only about money – it’s also about the passion.”
That passion was poured out with DJ Tonic HD (aka Anthony Mathebula), when they worked in studio with Mazwe ‘Maz’ Mthethwa, son of Kalawa Jazmee co-founder and Bokone Music owner Don Laka.
Andile, who performs under the stage name Andy D, met DJ Tonic HD through her friend and Mamelodi Sundowns teammate Bongiwe Thusi.
The goalie collaborated with DJ Tonic HD on the single Unembeza, which was released at the end of January – and while it may be a catchy tune, there’s more to it than sing-a-long fun.
TEASPOON, as Andile is affectionately known among her teammates because of the shape of her body, explains the motivation behind her debut track. It means “conscious” and carries a message she hopes will curb violent crime. It had always been her dream to follow in the footsteps of her Tembisa homeboy, the late Rhythm City actor Dumi Masilela, who was killed in a hijacking last year.
“He used to tackle a lot of things – he was a musician, an actor and a soccer player,” she says sadly.
Dumi’s death, which came after a friend was hijacked in Andile’s driveway, was the last straw for the footballer.
“I cried profusely and told my mother I wanted to do something, that I would do something. Perpetrators need to get the message that they are not only hurting their victims but many families get hurt too,” she says.
“Unembeza is a happy and sad song, because I want people to dance while they are listening to its message,” she tells us.
It was former Banyana Banyana coach Vera Pauw and Andile’s teammates who played a key role in getting her to the music studio.
The team was playing a tournament in Cyprus in 2015 when their hosts invited them to sing a song.
“My teammates, knowing I usually lead the singing back in the dressing room, asked me to sing but I was reluctant. Then Vera just came straight up to me and said, ‘Sing for us’. I started singing John Legend’s Ordinary People and everybody loved my voice.”
IF SHE had to choose between music and football, well, she just couldn’t. “It’s like asking a mother to choose a favourite between her two children,” says Andile, who also coaches football at King David High School in Linksfield, Joburg.
She plans to make music alongside her football career, she adds.
Football has been a part of Andile’s life since she was four years old, when she’d watch her uncles play four-a-side games in Tembisa. One day, one of them wasn’t around and they asked Andile to join in as a striker.
The little girl scored and the uncles were nearly as thrilled as she was. “That made me fall in love with football,” she recalls.
“My dream was to be a super striker. I wanted to see myself on the score sheet regularly, like Portia Modise, not defending the goals. But God had other plans for me,” she says.
When she was 13, Andile was playing as a right back for Phomolong Ladies FC before she was snatched by Sundowns the following year. She was back to her old position as a striker but one day their “wayward” goalkeeper was missing.
“The coach [Anna Monate] looked at my big hands and my height and said, ‘ you will be my goalkeeper’. I wasn’t happy about her decision. I felt as if someone was taking away my dream of being a super striker.”
But in 2010 the lanky goalie was roped into the SA U-20 team and the following year she broke through to the Banyana team and went on to make her debut against Botswana that year.
“It’s still a dream – I was shocked. On my first day [at camp] I was nervous and didn’t know how to greet them. I wanted to go back home when I saw people like Portia Modise and Amanda Dlamini, but I got a warm welcome.”
Andile’s parents couldn’t be prouder of her. Her mom, Dianna Hattingh, and stepdad, Rhodes Hattingh, who have been together since Andile was 15, are keen to see their daughter play overseas.
“I am a proud father,” Rhodes says. “I bought Andile her first soccer boots and I used to buy a six-pack of beers and go watch all her games. I just want to see her playing in Europe although her mother wants to see her daughter playing in China.”
Dianna nods. “She has achieved a lot in SA and she must now go further in bigger leagues. China is the place to go.”
Andile, however, says she has no immediate plans to play overseas – or to start a family, she adds.
She is scarred by her parents’ divorce and says, “I don’t think I will ever get married or have children.”
Andile intends to study business management one day but for now her focus is on her team – and her music.
“And I know I won’t fail.”
‘It’s sad to see men making a lot of money and getting filthy rich’
Andile Dlamini plays for one of the wealthiest clubs in Africa but says female players can’t rely on the sport to earn a living.
ABOVE LEFT: Andile has released a single called Unembeza with DJ Tonic HD (Anthony Mathebula). ABOVE RIGHT: Andile fell in love with football as a youngster when she watched her uncles play four-a-side games.
ABOVE: Andile with rapper Nasty C and former teammate Amanda Dlamini. LEFT: With rugby player Tim Agaba.