The UWC Ladies football club has acquired the services of Banyana Banyana star Leandra Smeda, boding well for the squad’s bid for Sasol League honours.
Her signing follows the club’s scintillating start to the season. They are the current pace-setters in the Western Cape stream of the Sasol League after winning all seven of their seven matches thus far. Smeda, a versatile midfielder-cum-striker recruited from the rival Cape Town Roses, is likely to add more prowess to the squad with her wealth of experience.
She has 28 caps for Banyana Banyana [since debuting against Switzerland at the 2010 Cyprus Women's Cup], for who she has scored four goals. Also, Smeda was part of the Roses team which won the Western Cape Sasol League for three of the last four seasons, and the SAFA Cape Town Coca-Cola Cup four times.
“I’m used to winning trophies,” says Smeda, who hails from Velddrif in the West Coast. “And I believe I can contribute a lot to the team, given the experience I gained in the national team and in the Sasol League, to motivate others.”
What makes Smeda such a valuable asset is that she can play as both a midfielder and as a striker, is comfortable with the ball on both feet and can be featured on either side of the field at a moment’s notice. Smeda, a food technology student at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, joined UWC Ladies because the University has good facilities and is closer to home (she lives on CPUT’s Bellville campus). Also, this will give her an opportunity to challenge herself against her former club, which she says, based on their success, is the best team in the province. She believes that UWC Ladies, who are also log-leaders in the University Sports South Africa (USSA) Western Cape Women’s League, holds all the cards to win this year’s Sasol League, given the quality of players in its squad.
“We have four Banyana Banyana players and three of them play for the national Under-20 team as well. I hope I will add more value to the team.”
Meanwhile, the University men’s soccer club has started this season on a high note as well. They are currently leading the pack in the Northern Suburbs Local Football Association’s premier league, and are also number one in the USSA Western Cape League.
PLAYER FACTS Leandra Smeda
Full name: Leandra Wiloma Smeda
Born: 22/7/1989 in Velddrif
High School: Weston High School (Matric 2007)
Tertiary education: Cape Peninsula University of Technology (NDip Food Technology - 2009-11, 2013)
Previous teams: Atlantic Rovers, Ambassadors Ladies FC, Cape Town Roses (2009-12)
Representative sides: South Africa (2010-)
Honours: South Africa (2010-), Sasol League Western Cape champion (2009, 2011, 2012)