© Sydney Mahlangu - Backpage PixAuthor: John Aliu‘NETTING A TREBLE’ IS A CAPTION OFTEN RESERVED FOR STRIKERS OR ATTACKING MIDFIELDERS.However, not every defender has such a statistic appended to their resume. Except if you are called Bambanani ‘Juice’ Mbane.
The Eastern Cape-born defender achieved that incredible feat while playing for Belarusian Premier League side Dinamo Minsk in their 10-0 win against Bostor.

Aside from her versatility, Juice is impeccable when breaking up attacks, perfect in terms of anticipation, a fantastic leader, hard as nails, and solid in the air despite only being 5’4”.

Bambanani’s immense ability has seen her achieve a fine collection of honours since she joined The Brazilians from Dinamo with which she won the 2019/20 Championship.
Juice was an integral member of the treble-winning side that won the COSAFA regional title, CAF Women's Champions League title, and the Hollywoodbets Super League title last season. As a result, the Eastern Cape-born defender racked up several individual accolades.

She was named in the Squad of the Tournament at the 2021 CAF Women's Champions League, as Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies won the competition without conceding a single goal.

Bambanani was further named the 2021 Hollywoodbets Super League Player of the Year.

The hard-tackling defender also clinched this year’s edition of the South African Football Journalist Association (SAFJA) Women’s Player of the Year. A few months ago, Bambanani was part of the Banyana Banyana squad that clinched their first-ever Women’s Africa Cup of Nations title.
© Sydney Mahlangu - Backpage PixBambanani during the 2022 Hollywoodbets Super League matchJUICE HAD A CHAT WITH THE MAMELODI SUNDOWNS DIGITAL MAGAZINE ABOUT HER CAREER THUS FAR AND LIFE OFF THE PITCH.Mamelodi Sundowns (MS): When did you first fall in love with the game of football?
Bambanani Mbane (BM): Like the inspirational stories of many successful female footballers, I fell in love with the game while playing on the streets of Sterkspruit with boys. I was six years old when my passion for the game developed. Thanks to the sport, I have travelled around the world and the experiences I have gained will never be forgotten.
MS: How did you earn the nickname ‘Juice’?
BM: It’s a funny story. Early in my career, I was selected to represent the Eastern Cape province in a tournament in Lesotho. During the introductions in the camp which I was shy about, a teammate (who I cannot remember) popped out of the blue and gave me the nickname and it has stuck with me since then. Maybe I should have a juice brand named after me as the whole country knows me by that name (she joked).
MS: Last season, you racked up several collective and individual awards and was part of the treble-winning squad. What was your favourite moment?
BM: This one is very tricky because I enjoyed lifting every trophy that we have won. More than anything, I cherish the continental accolades- the inaugural edition of the CAF Women's Champions League and the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations titles.
MS: Who was your childhood footballing hero?
BM: Thando Mbane, a family member who enjoyed playing the game. It is through him that my love for football was born.
MS: As a defender, which football legend has inspired your type of play?
BM: It has to be Mbulelo Mabizela, a former South African defender. I regard him as one of the best defenders to ever grace the game. I am sure you saw his exploits during his time in England when he played for Tottenham Hotspur.
MS: Aside from playing football, what other sports interest you and how often do you play or watch those sports?
BM: You can never be from the Eastern Cape and not love Iqakamba (Cricket). Whenever I put on my helmet, batting pads and step out with the bat, I always aim for the boundary with the intention of hitting a six or a four.
MS: Could you name your ideal five-aside team consisting of defenders without naming yourself?
BM: That is easy. Aside from Mbulelo Mabizela, I would go for Noko Matlou, Rushine De Reuck, Rooi Mahamutsa, Wandisile Letlabika, and Khuliso Mudau. They are all defenders who take no prisoners and that best describes the type of player I am.
MS: You once scored a hat-trick in the Belarusian league. How did you manage that as a defender?
BM: Hahahaha, you have all the information I see. While in Belarus, I was often deployed in offensive roles which allowed me to get goal-scoring opportunities. Who knows, maybe one day I will be playing up front for Masandawana.
MS: How does the Hollywoodbets Super League measure up with the Belarusian league?
BM: The philosophies are quite different. The game in South Africa is more attack-driven, with the shoeshine and piano vibes. However, in Belarus, they believe in playing a more simplified version of the game.
MS: What is your advice for making a last-ditch tackle (something which has become part of your game)?
BM: It’s all about timing. Make sure you get the ball without drawing a foul. Not as easy as it sounds though.
MS: What is your fondest football memory?
BM: I cannot forget how the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Mzansi united everyone in South Africa and the continent. It was however painful that Bafana Bafana did not make it out of the group stages.
© Samuel Shivambu - Backpage PixCelebrating as African Champions after the 2021 CAF Women's Champions League FinalIt is fair to say that the relationship between Bambanani Mbane and Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies seems like a match made in heaven.
Already labelled as one of the best signings made by the Chloorkop side in recent times, Juice will be hoping to solidify her legacy which seems to be rising with each passing day.