Refiloe Jane is a humble, hardworking player and the metronome that makes this Milan team function. She is the heartbeat of the team that gives this team life, and when she’s not on the pitch, the team really feels it.
Jane is a player that has had a lot of experiences in her career. Having been born in Soweto, South Africa, back in 1992 one of her first experiences in women’s football was actually in England with Colchester United.
She also played for Mamelodi Sundowns in Pretoria and Vaal University of Technology of Gauteng Province, before moving to Australian capital side Canberra United in 2018 and Milan a year later in 2019.
Jane represented South Africa at the 2012 London Olympics and now has over 100 appearances for her country, helping to pioneer the sport there. You can see her in action when Milan play Inter in the Coppa Italia Femminile at 12:30 CEST (3:30am PST / 6:30am EST) this Saturday.
We at SempreMilan are honoured to interview her…
What was your upbringing and early life like, and when did you start playing football?
“I started playing football when I was about five-years-old, inspired by my brothers who also helped me to grow into the game by training and playing with me in the backyard.
“My upbringing was full of support from the whole family and that made it easy for me to follow my dream.”
What do you think of Milan’s season so far?
“So far so good, we are doing our very best to do better than the previous season but not all is over. We have to fight until the last day as this is a marathon and anything can happen in between now and the last game.”
The team suffered a bad loss against Juventus. What do you think they can do to improve and to avoid such a heavy defeat in the future? And how can they bridge the
gap with Juve?
“We should continue working hard and stay focused on our goals, and a loss against Juventus doesn’t mean all is lost. There’s other teams in the league we need to be careful of and we should take a game at a time.”
What was it like playing at the San Siro?
“It was a dream come true, never would have thought I would play at San Siro in my life. Thanks to Milan for the support given to the team in regards to that.”
There’s a famous video of the Basetsana (South African U20 Women’s Team) singing Pearl Thusi (a popular South African song) before a match. Does music play a big part of
your life and are there any musicians you prefer to listen to?
“I listen to different types of genres and all those depend on my mood at that given point. I don’t have a favourite musician, I listen to music that I feel I want to listen to at that
You have stated before that you are a very spiritual person. How important is your faith to you and how does it affect your everyday life?
“My faith plays a huge role in my life. I don’t think I would be where I am if it wasn’t for it. And I am blessed to come from a family that’s deeply rooted in faith and that guides me
along the journey. We have a bigger purpose in this life and we have to be grateful for this gift given to us.”
South Africa qualified for the 2019 Women’s World Cup. What was it like to play at the tournament?
“It was a dream come true, after having failed to qualify on numerous occasions. It showed that through hard work, resistance, discipline and focus anything is possible and
at the right time, what’s for you will find you.”
You were also drawn in a pretty tough group with Spain, Germany, and the Republic of China. Which team or player impressed you the most?
“It was a tough group we were drawn in and I feel we did pretty well given that it was our first appearance at the World Cup. The first two games could have gone our way but things turned out differently towards the end of the matches. We were able to see how far we’ve grown as a nation and things to work on when we returned back from the World Cup. I think it was a good World Cup and all the teams did quite amazing.”
Speaking of people who have impressed you, who are some of your favourite footballers and which of your Milan team-mates have had an impact on you?
“All my team-mates have impressed me very much, looking at how we’ve grown as a team and individuals from the previous season and also the new additions to the team this year came with a lot of experience. There’s a lot to take out from each and every player in the team as all of us possess different qualities.”
How would you describe your playing style? You seem like a very determined, technically gifted, tough tackling midfielder. It’s something Milan haven’t seen since the
days of Gattuso…
“I would say you are correct in all the descriptions given and also a hard worker. I am a ball player too but can also adapt to different playing styles.”