Banyana Banyana vice captain Refiloe Jane wasted no time in getting down to business at her new Italian club, AC Milan.
Jane had just arrived in the city of Milan, and had only one training session but was drafted into the starting lineup against Napoli in their final pre-season preparations match on Saturday (7 September 2019) by her new coach Maurizio Ganz, after she was only unveiled on Friday (6 September).
AC Milan won 5-0 with Jane playing just in front of the defence in a 4-1-4-1 formation.
The former Canberra United (Australia), Vaal University of Technology and Tshwane University of Technology (both South Africa) player has become the first ever woman player to feature in the Italian league, following in the footsteps of former Bafana Bafana stars David Nyathi (Cagliary: 1998 – 1999), Siyabonga Nomvethe (Udinese: 2001-2002, 2003-2004), Mark Fish (Lazio: 1996-1997), Eric Tinkler (Cagliary: 1997-1997) and Phil Masinga (Bari: 1997-2001).
Jane, who left South Africa immediately after Banyana Banyana lost their Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifier against Botswana last week, becomes the second player to make the move overseason after the South Africa’s maiden FIFA Women’s World Cup in France in June. The other is captain Janine van Wyk, who is now on the books ofUEFA Champions League bound Fortuna Hjorring in Denmark.
In the pre-season friendly against Napoli, Milan took the lead in the first minute when Lady Andrade won a penalty, which Valentina Giacinti converted. In the 32nd minute, Milan were awarded a second penalty for a handball – and Giacinti scored her second of the day to make it 2-0.
Linda Tucceri Cimini increased the lead shortly after the break. And it was not long before Deborah Salvatori Rinaldi made it 4-0 before Sandra Žigić wrapped things up for a 5-0 victory.
This was their fifth friendly match ahead of the start of the 2019/2020 season – they faced Lugano, Zurich, Cittadella and Como, and only lost once, to Paris Saint-Germain of France.
Their opening league fixture of the season is on Sunday, 15 September away to Roma at Tre Fontane.