Banyana Banyana off to 2018 Afcon

JETTING OFF: The national women's soccer side, Banyana Banyana, and management that will participate in the 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations. Photo: Annette van Schalkwyk

The national women’s soccer side have concluded their preparation for 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) and is underway to the much-anticipated showpiece.

Afcon will take place in Ghana from November 17 to December 1.

A squad of 21 players plus four standby players have been announced by head coach Desiree Ellis on November 7 at Safa House.

The top three nations in Ghana will advance to the 2019 Fifa Women World Cup in France in June.

“It was a difficult task to pin down the final 21 players as they all raised their hands to show how much they want to be part of this magnificent team. But I am confident that the players we have chosen will do the business for South Africa,” said Ellis.

“Too many times we have come close to winning the tournament and I think with the preparations we have had, we feel ready for the competition.”

The squad is made up of a wealth of experienced players and youth who will hand the South African team the right mix for this most important tournament.

The former Banyana Banyana captain, Ellis, has also selected four players to be on standby – Kholosa Biyana, Rachel Sebati, Thato Letsoso and Hilda Magaia.

The quartet will travel with the squad to Ghana and return to South Africa after the international friendly match that will be played in Accra on November 11.

Banyana Banyana has been drawn in Group B to face defending champions Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia.

South Africa will open their account with a clash against the Super Falcons, Nigeria, on November 18, followed by an encounter against Kenya three days later (November 21). Both matches will be played at Cape Coast.

For the final match of Group B, Ellis and her charges will travel to the capital Accra to face Zambia on November 24.

South Africa will be making their 12th appearance at the tournament.

Banyana Banyana squad:

Goalkeepers: Andile Dlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns), Kaylin Swart (Menlo College/awaiting int transfer), Roxanne Barker (University of Western Cape).

Defenders: Lebogang Ramalepe (Ma-Indies FC), Nothando Vilakazi (Palace Super Falcons FC), Janine van Wyk (Houston Dash/awaiting int transfer), Noko Matlou (Ma-Indies FC), Bambanani Mbane (Bloemfontein Celtic), Tiisetso Makhubela (Mamelodi Sundowns), Koketso Tlailane (TUT-PTA).

Midfielders: Kgaelebane Mohlakoana (Bloemfontein Celtic), Mamello Makhabane (JVW FC), Leandra Smeda (Gintra Universitas), Nompumelelo Nyandeni (JVW FC), Linda Motlhalo (Houston Dash), Busisiwe Ndimeni (TUT-PTA), Refiloe Jane (Canberra United).

Strikers: Jermaine Seoposenwe (JVW FC), Thembi Kgatlana (Houston Dash), Melinda Kgadiete (Bloemfontein Celtic), Amanda Mthandi (University of Johannesburg).

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  AUTHOR
Annette van Schalkwyk
Sports journalist

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