Yolanda Kanyai

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Yolanda Kanyai
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BornYolanda Kanyai
OrganizationPort Darwin FC

Yolanda Kanyai is a Zimbabwean footballer who plays for Australian Woman's Premier League club Port Darwin Football Club.


Kanyai did her Advanced Level at Vainona High School. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree as well as Graduate Certificate in Social Work and was studying for a Master's Degree in Social Work in 2021. [1]


Yolanda started playing football at the age of 6 in the backyard with her uncles but didn't take the sport seriously. [2]

She has played for Casuarina Football Club, NT Yapas Sports Club and Port Darwin Football Club, all in Australia.

Yolanda has also been part of the Northern Territory Indigenous Women’s Advisory committee which represents the State’s football matters on a higher level in Australia.


Yolanda left Zimbabwe for Australia to further her studies but didn't abandon her football dream.

When she started taking football seriously while playing in the dusty streets of Harare's high-density suburb of Highfields, Yolanda faced criticism from many, including her own parents. [3] She narrated her journey:

I grew up on the streets of Harare enjoying being around boys and that’s how my story begins. I grew up around my uncles most of whom played street soccer.

With time, that became our norm even when I would visit my aunt over the holidays in Highfields.

I would be the only girl around a gang of about 10-15 boys playing street soccer from dawn to dusk.

During my primary school education, girls’ soccer wasn’t yet a big thing but I’d find myself and three other girls in my class playing with the boys during break time.

No stigma stopped me and, to be honest, I grew up as a tomboy and none of that bothered me as I just felt at ease while playing soccer. I think at times, if something is your calling, you just feel it.

Like everyone else, I did face great objections. I still remember during my A-level days when I told my mum I wanted to join a club outside of the school curriculum, she ridiculed me.

Just like any other typical African parent, she told me sports had no better future than books.

I was more book intelligent than sport gifted and she encouraged me to pursue my education more than sporting life. With time they all curved in when I started playing here in Australia.

Further Reading

  1. , Magreth Ruzvidzo, Zim female footballer shines in Australia, Published December 19, 2021, Retrieved 19 July 2022
  2. , Lawrence Mangenje, Football and Yolanda Kanyai: A true love story, Published 23 April 2021, Retrieved 19 July 2022
  3. Zim female footballer shines in Australia, Published December 19, 2021, Retrieved 19 July 2022

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