Fresh from a weekend visit to the North West Province as part of her country-wide tour to Sasol League teams, Head Coach of Banyana Banyana, Desiree Ellis, wasted no time and went into camp with the Senior Women’s National Team yesterday (Monday, 21 June 2021) to start preparations for their much-anticipated friendly international fixture against the Netherlands.
Ellis has now visited four provinces – Free State, KwaZulu Natal, Eastern Cape and North West – where she conducts coaching workshops with local Sasol League coaches and gets an opportunity to asssess, scout and meet players.
“I must admit, these provincial visits have really been fruitful and I have gathered a lot of information, not just for myself but for other national team coaches as well. With these kind of engagements, you are able to address some challenges while they are still fresh, long before they become habits. So this is really a great initiative and we must applaud everyone involved,” says Ellis.
Back to national team business, South Africa’s clash against the Netherlands will be played in Zwolle, Netherlands on Saturday, 3 July 2021.
Banyana Banyana are using the match to prepare for the CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, which kick off later this year, while the hosts are getting ready for the Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo next month.
“We have asked SAFA and our proud sponsor Sasol for stronger opposition and we are very grateful that we are playing a top country like the Netherlands whom we last played in 2019. They are currently ranked number three in the world; finished as runners up at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, and are perhaps one of the favourites for the Olympics,” says Ellis.
“Also, we are preparing for our AWCON qualifier later this year, so this not only gives us an opportunity to test ourselves but also to take our preparations to another level following the victories over Zambia and Botswana in March this year.”
Ellis has been able to recall some overseas-based players who have not been in the squad since 2019, the likes of captain Janine van Wyk, Ode Fulutudilu and Jermaine Seoposenwe.
“We are very happy to have Janine, Ode and Jermaine back in the team after such a long time – they were last with us in 2019. They have all done well abroad and it will be exciting to see how they gel with the rest of the squad and that is what we will be working on this week – to make sure we play as a unit,” adds Ellis.
But Banyana Banyana will be without the services of other players plying their trade abroad due to various reasons.
• Lebohang Ramalepe (Belarus): has not been able to get a visa due to COVID-19 restrictions
• Refiloe Jane (Italy) – has injury concerns that she is trying to shake off
• Leandra Smeda (Portugal) – is in rehabilitation after an injury
• Kholosa Biyana (Spain) – recovering from an injury
• Nothando Vilakazi (Spain) – has recently returned from a long injury layoff and only played two matches (including yesterday – Sunday) – she is given a chance to fully recover
• Hildah Magaia (Sweden) – has a niggling hamstring injury – but also not FIFA Date and her club did not release her
• Linda Motlhalo (Sweden) – was not released by her club
• Amanda Mthandi (Spain) – not being playing regularly, mostly on the bench
• Rhoda Mulaudzi (unattached) – is still clubless and has not played for a while
“Sadly though, we will not have many other players who are unable to honour the call-up for different reasons – and unfortunately that is how international football is, more so in these testing times of Covid-19. While we would have loved to have all in camp, this is again another opportunity for other players to show what they are made of when we meet a strong side like the Netherlands.”
Regirl Ngubeni of the University of the Western Cape is the only newcomer in the squad, while Ongeziwe Ndlangisa is the sole representative from the Sasol League where she is on the books of Hammersdale, KwaZulu Natal-based Sunflower Women’s Football Club.
Banyana Banyana depart for the Netherlands on Tuesday, 29 June 2021.
BANYANA BANYANA SQUAD TO FACE NETHERLANDS
- Andile DLAMINI Mamelodi Sundowns FC Pretoria
- Kaylin SWART JVW FC Johannesburg
- Regirl NGOBENI University of Western Cape Cape Town
- Janine VAN WYK Glasgow City Scotland
- Tiisetso MAKHUBELA Tshwane University of Pretoria Pretoria
- Noko MATLOU SD Eibar Spain
- Bambanani MBANE Mamelodi Sundowns FC Pretoria
- Karabo DHLAMINI University of Western Ohio Ohio, USA
- Bongeka GAMEDE University of Western Cape Cape Town
- Kgaelebane MOHLAKOANA Bloemfontein Celtic Bloemfontein
- Ongeziwe NDLANGISA Sunflower WFC KZN
- Oratile MOKWENA Mamelodi Sundowns FC Pretoria
- Mamello MAKHABANE JVW FC Johannesburg
- Nomvula KGOALE Tshwane University of Pretoria Pretoria
- Robyn MOODALY JVW FC Johannesburg
- Noxolo CESANE University of Western Cape Cape Town
- Gabriela SALGADO JVW FC Johannesburg
- Thembi KGATLANA SD Eibar Spain
- Jermaine SEOPOSENWE Sporting Braga Portugal
- Lelona DAWETI Mamelodi Sundowns FC Pretoria
- Ode FULUTUDILU Glasgow City Scotland
- Sibulele HOLWENI University of Western Cape Cape Town