Banyana Banyana search for World Cup berth in MoroccoThomas Kwenaite
By Andile Dladla & Mandla Dladla
Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis is under no illusion about the heavy task that awaits South Africa at the African Women Cup of Nations tournament that gets underway in Morocco from July 2.
South Africa has been paired with their perennial nemesis Nigeria with debutants Buundi and Botswana in Group C of the tournament that has been expanded from eight to 12 nations.
In addition, all four semi-finalists will qualify for the FIFA Women World Cup to be co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia.
Ellis assembled a team comprising of an exciting mix of local and foreign based internationals led by Refilwe Jane, Jermain Seoposenwe and Thembi Kgatlana while Linda Motlhalo will join the squad in Morocco.
“We do not want to look far ahead of ourselves,” said Ellis on Monday afternoon at SAFA House where she announced the final 23-women squad in front of the South African media.
“We are going to take one game at a time and thank goodness our opening match is against Nigeria. The match against Nigeria will set the tone for the entire tournament.”
Ellis said as a group they did not want to look far ahead of themselves as that would be suicidal. She said they needed to focus and their main objective at this moment was Nigeria. Once they have completed the task against them, it is only then that they will shift their focus to Burundi and Botswana.
Ellis has been forced to leave out some of her best performers like Gabriella Salgado who is nursing an injury, but she was still confident that the group she had selected would deliver for the country.
While concern has been raised about the last results in which Banyana were thumped 5-1 by the Netherlands, Ellis is confident that the girl will do much better this time, especially with Refilwe Jane around to lead the orchestra from the middle of the park.
Jane is blessed with the ability to slow down the tempo and impose herself on a game because of her knack to poke holes in the opposition with her range of passes.
Goalkeepers : Andile Dlamini; Kaylin Swart and Regirl Ngobeni
Defenders : Karabo Dlamini; Lebohang Ramalepe; Janine Van Wyk; Bambanani Mbane; Bongeka Gamede and Noko Matlou
Midfielders : Refiloe Jane; Nomvula Kgoale; Linda Motlhalo; Thalea Smidt; Kholosa Biyana; Amogelang Motau; Robyn Moodaly and Sibulele Holweni
Forwards : Jermaine Seoposenwe; Melinda Kgadiete; Noxolo Cesane; Nthabiseng Majiya; Thembi Kgatlana and Hildah Magaia.
Standby : Kebotseng Moletsane; Tiisetso Makhubela and Thubelihle Shamase