Spain-based Ode Fulutudilu happy to be back in Banyana fold

Banyana Banyana's Spain based striker Ode Fulutudilu is a newly wed on mission and her next big target is the World Cup.
Banyana Banyana's Spain based striker Ode Fulutudilu is a newly wed on mission and her next big target is the World Cup.
Image: SAFA

Newly-wed Spain-based Banyana Banyana striker Ode Fulutudilu is thrilled to return to the national team after missing the Africa Cup of Nations (AWC) in Ghana last year.

Fulutudilu, 29, is on the books of Malaga, campaigning in the Spanish women’s elite league.

She missed AWC because her previous club, Oulu Nice Soccer of Finland, refused to release her.

She is in the squad to face Jamaica in a friendly at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday. It will be Banyana’s last home match before their participation in the World Cup, starting on June 7-July 7 in France.

“I am happy to be back. I am honoured to represent the country. Missing the AWC was tough because my team was not able to release me because they were in a very tough condition, fighting [to escape] relegation," Fulutudilu said.

“I was the top scorer, so they could not let me go at the time when I was called to report [for national duty]. I had to fulfil my contract; it was something that I had to do and I had no choice. I watched every single game of the Africa Cup of Nations because I was back in Cape Town during that time."

Fulutudilu, a Democratic Republic of Congo descent, recently tied the knot. The Malaga striker enjoys being married, though she admits challenges in juggling marriage and football.

“Getting married is awesome. I love being married. I love my husband; he’s amazing for supporting me and wanting me to pursue my dreams of playing soccer."

The former Spurs Ladies sharp shooter cannot stop raving about the level of competitiveness in Spain.

“Moving to Spain was awesome, it happened very quickly. It became much bigger than what I expected in terms of the attention that it drew. Spain is a beautiful country…Malaga awesome. The people are amazing, the professional environment is amazing. The Spanish people really support women’s football.

“We [Malaga] are one point away from safety and three points away from 10th or 12th position [on the log]. It is an extremely competition league and anyone can beat anyone," the Banyana striker explained.

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