Canberra United resurrects international career of Rhoda Mulaudzi
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Canberra United resurrects international career of Rhoda Mulaudzi

Rhoda Mulaudzi's journey to Canberra United started with a YouTube video and has finished with a recall to the international arena.

Mulaudzi has proved a revelation in lime green this summer after Canberra coach Heather Garriock took a punt on the South African pocket rocket.

South African players Rhoda Mulaudzi and Refiloe Jane were discovered on YouTube.

South African players Rhoda Mulaudzi and Refiloe Jane were discovered on YouTube. Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

The 29-year-old has scored four stupendous goals in a stellar debut W-League season and vowed to wow the crowd one more time, against Adelaide United at McKellar Park on Sunday.

Mulaudzi and United teammate Refiloe Jane will fly to Europe on Monday to play the Netherlands in a friendly and the pair will miss Canberra's second last game of the season against Melbourne Victory.

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It marks a return to the South African team after Mulaudzi was dropped 18 months ago and she praised Canberra for her international resurrection.

"Canberra United played a huge role in me getting back and getting the call-up. It’s a good feeling getting back in the national team and shows that sometimes hard work pays," Mulaudzi said.

"Fifi [Jane] came into my room and was like 'Hey you got the call-up and I was like 'Are you serious'. Most of the time she's joking around so I thought maybe she was just playing with me but then I saw it online.

"The following day I came to training and Heather congratulated me. I was so happy and that’s when I realised it was actually true.

"I worked hard and got good support from Canberra and the midfield helped me become the player I was before I was dropped from the national team."

Jane and Mulaudzi arrived at United after a crazed fan bombarded Garriock with their YouTube highlights until she gave them a trial.

They didn't take long to impress and have been amongst Canberra's best players throughout a season.

"Honesty, when I came here, especially being my first professional contract I wasn’t sure what was going to happen but I just told myself that football is football," Mulaudzi said.

"It’s still the same whether you’re in South Africa or Australia so the only thing to do was to believe in myself and work hard.

Refiloe Jane and Rhoda Mulaudzi celebrate after Jane scored her second goal against Perth Glory in round two.

Refiloe Jane and Rhoda Mulaudzi celebrate after Jane scored her second goal against Perth Glory in round two. Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

"The support I’ve been getting from the team and everyone back home has been great and really helped me."

Jane believes they are just the tip of the iceberg and there's untold untapped talent in Africa, which W-League coaches should be investigating.

"I believe South Africa has got the quality that can compete in the biggest leagues in the world, players just need exposure, like we were given," Jane said.

"It's not easy to get players out of South Africa but with the correct exposure and correct mindset we’ve got players that can play anywhere.

"I do feel like [a pioneer] and coming to Canberra we needed to be ambassadors for South Africa to make sure we open the door for others.

"I feel like the quality we’ve shown in this league people will now start looking into South Africa to see what other players have to offer."

W-LEAGUE ROUND 11

Sunday: Canberra United v Adelaide United at McKellar Park, 4pm.

Eamonn Tiernan is a sports reporter with The Canberra Times

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