The South African Senior Women’s National Team, Banyana Banyana, will be looking to shine on their 18-day ‘Mission South America’ before competing in the Cyprus Women’s Cup from February 28 to March 6.
Twenty-two players will be on the travelling party.
USA-based goalkeeper Roxanne Barker and experienced central defender Janine van Wyk have been added to the group that spent three weeks focusing on endurance and strength training in Stellenbosch last month.
Under the guidance of head coach Joseph ‘Skheshekheshe’ Mkhonza, the Sasol-sponsored national team will jet out of South Africa on Wednesday (8 February) to be based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where they will play against a Brazilian club side, and the national senior women’s teams of Argentina, Peru and Chile.
The tournament in Cyprus requires twenty two players to be registered by each country, so with experienced midfielders Russian-based Nompumelelo Nyandeni and USA-based Kylie Ann Louw joining Banyana Banyana in Cyprus, two players from the travelling party will have to return home.
Those players will be decided towards the end of the Brazil tour. Banyana Banyana will leave South America for Cyprus on Thursday, 23 February.
“Following the highly successful national training camp held in Stellenbosch last month, it was crucial for Banyana Banyana to have a few friendly matches before competing against some of the world’s leading women’s football nations at the Cyprus Women’s Cup,” said Mkhonza.
Last year, Banyana Banyana played mainly against African opposition en route to 2012 London Olympic Games qualification and representation at the All-Africa Games held in Mozambique.
“It’s good for the team that the players are getting opportunities to play against different styles of football like against the South American teams and then Asian, Australasian and European opponents at the Cyprus Women’s Cup,” added Mkhonza.
For the Cyprus Women’s Cup, SA has been drawn in a group along with South Korea, New Zealand and Northern Ireland.
The Banyana Banyana support team has also received a major boost, with the vastly experienced South African Under 23 National Team coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba roped in as the technical advisor to Mkhonza.
The other newcomer is Brazil-based Bafana Bafana physical trainer Francisco “Chico” Gonzalez, and there is also additional support in the form of a bio kinetics consultant, masseur and a training session and match analyst.
The Banyana Banyana squad to Brazil:
Thoko Mndaweni – Nickname: ‘TK’. 50 caps. Age: 30
Based in Vosloorus, the super saver who plays for the University of Johannesburg in the Sasol League (Gauteng) is best remembered for a penalty shoot-out save and goal from her spot kick during South Africa’s triumph on penalties in the Olympic Qualifier return leg match in Tunis in April last year.
Roxanne Barker – Nickname: ‘Roxy’. 2 caps. Age 20
Equally at home as a tough central defender, the former Durban Ladies (Sasol League) player founds herself between with the gloves on between the posts at Peperdine University (USA) these days.
Mputle Ntshatsana – Nickname: ‘Catch’. 2 caps. Age: 21
The Rustenburg-based goal-minder has been playing football for 11 years and abides by her favourite diet of rice and fish.
Gabisile Hlumbane – Nickname: ‘China’. 24 caps. Age: 25
The University of the Free State student plays her club football for Kovsies in the Sasol League Free State, and while brought in to Banyana Banyana as a midfield anchor, has proved her worth as left back defender who has also done duty at right back.
Janine van Wyk – Nickname: ‘Booth’, 70 caps. 7 goals. Age: 24
Back in the team after missing the pre-Christmas camp and outing against Zimbabwe, Van Wyk’s experience, tackling and ability from attacking free kick situations will be worth its weight in gold to the national team. Van Wyk, who plays for Sasol League National Champions Palace Super Falcons, has an excellent understanding with central back colleague Amanda Sister – part of the foundation on which the Banyana Banyana success story has been built.
Refiloe Jane – Nickname: ‘Fifi’ (short for Refiloe). Uncapped. Age 19
Equally At home in defence or midfield, Jane made a name for herself in the colours of her Sasol League club, Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies and is hoping to study sports management at Vaal University of Technology later this year.
Amanda Sister – Nickname: ‘Amy’. 23 caps. 1 goal scored. Age: 21
The tough-tackling Port Elizabeth-based central defender has been a revelation in the heart of the Banyana defence, having been spotted playing for Liverpool Ladies in the Sasol League (Eastern Cape).
Zamantosi Cele – Nickname: ‘Zama’. 9 caps. Age 21
One of 3 players in the current national squad that plays for Durban Ladies in the Sasol League, KwaZulu Natal. The Pietermaritzburg-based Public Management student is a competent player in the centre of defensive or right back role.
Simphiwe Masina – Nickname: ‘Sju’. 25 caps. Age 26
A member of Detroit Ladies in Mpumalanga, winners of the inaugural Sasol League National Championship title in 2009. Based in Bapsfontein, she is equally at home on the left or right side defensive role.
Nothando Vilakazi – Nickname: ‘Vivo’. 20 caps. 4 goals. Age: 23
Plays for Rabie Ridge (Gauteng)-based Palace Super Falcons who have won the Sasol League National Championship title for the past two years. Used as a left back defender, she is just as comfortable playing as a left-sided striker.
Mary Ntsweng – Nickname: ‘Jalee Jalee’. 35 caps. 1 goal scored. Age 22
The right-footed Polokwane-based midfielder is a Human Resources student at Tshwane University of Technology – the club she plays for in the Sasol League (Gauteng)
Memory Makhanya – Nickname: ‘Memzo’. 36 caps. 5 goals. Age: 23
A right-footed midfielder, who plans on studying tourism at college this year. An experienced player in the powerful Durban Ladies team in the KwaZulu Natal Sasol League.
Nomathemba Ntsibande – Nickname: ‘Lanka’. 18 caps. 1 goal scored. Age 25
A central midfielder who plays for Springs Homesweepers in the Sasol League (Gauteng). Wants to be a sports scientist.
Morifi Chuene – Nickname: ‘Master’. Uncapped. Age: 20.
The Detroit Ladies (Sasol League Mpumalanga) left wing lives in Katlehong and is a electrical engineering student.
Nondyebo Mgudu – Nickname: ‘Tumie’. 4 caps. Age: 23
The Durban Ladies (Sasol League KwaZulu Natal) central midfielder is an honours sports science student.
Nocawe Skiti – Nickname: ‘Speedy’. 15 caps. 4 goals. Age: 22.
Like her nickname, the fast-paced Cape Town Roses (Sasol League Gauteng) right-sided midfielder adds much value to the Banyana Banyana midfield.
Sanah Mollo – Nickname: ‘Diego’. 17 caps. 4 goals. Age 25
The right-sided striker is a core part of the successful Bloemfontein Celtics (Sasol League Free State) team and is a post-marketing graduate from the University of the Free State.
Noko Matlou – Nickname: ‘Beep Beep’. 64 caps. 52 goals.
The Banyana Banyana vice captain has made the move from her roots in the Limpopo Province to study Transport Management and to play for the University of Johannesburg team in the Sasol League (Gauteng). Matlou is well decorated in honours being the CAF Women’s Player of the Year (2009) and the current SA Sportswoman of the Year.
Leandra Smeda – Nickname: ‘Teko’. 11 caps. 3 goals. Age 22
The striker from Cape Town Roses (Sasol League Western Cape) is studying Food Technology at the Cape University of Technology in Cape Town and has a right foot that is on the goal-trail.
Zanele Sukazi – Nickname: ‘Momo’. 5 caps. 2 goals. Age 24
The University of Johannesburg (Sasol League Gauteng) striker puts focus on Human Resources management when she is not on the football field. A natural athlete from her school days, she adds major versatility to the Banyana Banyana attack.
Amanda Dlamini – Nickname: ‘Toki’. 39 caps. 16 goals. Age: 23
The Banyana Banyana captain and striker is studying Transport Management at the University of Johannesburg, and plays for her tertiary institution’s club in the Sasol League (Gauteng), having originally played for Durban Ladies in the Sasol League (KwaZulu Natal).
Andiswe Mgcoyi – Nickname: ‘Andy’. 13 caps. 4 goals. Age: 23
The tall striker made the move from the Mother City’s Cape Town Roses to Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies in the off-season and is an obvious beacon for Banyana Banyana’s incoming high crosses into their opponent’s penalty area.