Canberra United forward, Rhoda Mulaudzi has revealed she fought off the pressure of active royal duty to chase after her football dream.
The 29 year old‘s grandfather was the king of the Venda people, who are from the Limpopo province near the South African-Zimbabwe border.
Mulaudzi’s mother wanted her to quit the game to focus on “royal duties”, but she was allowed to keep playing thanks to the support of her father.
“When I was young, they tried to stop me from playing football, but I refused and told them I was not interested in royal duties,” Mulaudzi said.
“My mum was not happy, but my dad is a football person, so he just said ‘Whatever you decide I’ll support you all the way’.
“The only thing I wanted to do was play football, and that’s why I’m here because I had faith and believed in myself, one day I wanted to see myself playing for the national team and playing overseas, and here I am playing for Canberra United.
“Nothing was going to stop me from doing what I love. But now my mum is my No. 1 supporter, even more than my dad.”
Mulaudzi admits she was nervous coming to the W-League but after a scintillating goal on debut, she knew she belonged at this level.“I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got here because there’s a huge gap between the South African league and Australian league, this one is professional, and the competition is very high,” Mulaudzi said.
“In the back of my mind, I told myself even if I can become our team’s top goal-scorer that will be enough. Next season hopefully I can double up and do more because I feel like I have more to give, I know myself what kind of striker I am, and I can do more.”
Some of Mulaudzi’s teammates only found out she was royalty halfway through the season, but forward Nikki Flannery said it was the worst kept secret at the club.
“She said not to tell anyone but proceeded to tell everyone… it’s not something I expected to do growing up [play alongside royalty], but it’s pretty fun,” Flannery said.