BANYANA Banyana veteran Noko Matlou has singled out the language barrier as the main challenge she faced at her new Spanish club SD Eibar.

But the 35-year-old defender said she did not let that stand in her way.

She has fought for the place and made more than 10 appearances already since she arrived at the club last October to sign her first professional contract.

“I am happy with my progress, it has not been easy, but I did not allow that to stop me from succeeding,” said Matlou speaking during Banyana’s open training session in Joburg yesterday.

“Language barrier and other stuff made things difficult for me, but with the help and assistance I got from teammates, I have gelled well. Playing 10 games in a row is a sign of progress.”

Matlou said playing against big teams such as Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in the same league pushes her to be better.

She stated: “It gives you motivation that you are competing with the best, you also get that courage from I’m competing among the best so I have to push myself to be amongst the best.”

She is currently in the country as part of the Banyana squad that will play back-to-back friendly matches against Zambia on Saturday (3pm) at Bidvest Wits Stadium) and Botswana three days later at the same venue and same time.

Matlou and Thembi Kgatlana, who plays for the same Spanish side, are back in the national team for the first time since November 2019.

The Limpopo-born defender added: “The two friendlies are important for us, some of the players in this camp were last part of Banyana in November 2019 when we lost to Japan. So now we need to use these two games to gauge ourselves as we have a tight schedule ahead of us later this year.”