Banyana Banyana head coach Joseph Mkhonza has named a full strength 18-member squad to take on Ethiopia in an Olympic Qualifier first leg match at the Orlando Stadium, in Soweto on Saturday, 27 August 2011, in what is being rated as the host nation’s most important game since the inception of the team in 1995.
Kickoff is at 15h00.
Captain Amanda Dlamini’s side is just 180 minutes (two matches) away from a place at the 2012 London Olympics, and awaiting them is the challenge to see off Ethiopia in Soweto, and again in the return leg fixture in Ethiopia on Sunday, September 11 to reach their Olympic dream.
Fresh from a 5-0 drubbing of Mozambique in an international friendly played in Atteridgville, Tshwane at the weekend, Mkhonza has included his overseas-based midfielders Nompumelelo Nyandeni and Kylie-Ann Louw for this weekend’s match.
Also making a return are strikers Dlamini, Noko Matlou and Zanele Sukazi, as well as midfielder Mary Ntsweng, who all missed the match against Mozambique due to commitments to the South African team at the World Student Games played in China recently.
Versatile defender Lebogang Mabatle, who impressed on her Banyana Banyana debut against Mozambique, has been included for this weekend’s match, with the coach having the option of playing her in either full-back position or as a central defender.
“Mabatle was spotted during the Sasol League Road Show held in Rustenburg earlier this year and we have been monitoring her form and she is an exciting prospect who could rise to the occasion if given the chance.
“We need to get at least a goal or two this weekend to make our lives a bit more comfortable for the return leg fixture in Ethiopia. We also need as many fans as possible to fill the Orlando Stadium on Saturday in order to cheer our team on in perhaps the most important match of our players’ careers,” said Mkhonza.
Fans can get their free tickets at the Sasol Delight Convenience Stores in and around Johannesburg.
Ticket holders will be in for a treat by way of a halftime draw that will see two lucky winners and their partners set to accompany the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana to Ethiopia to witness the return leg Olympic Qualifying fixture. The competition is made possible by Sasol.
Once in possession of match tickets, football fans will need to fill in their contact details on the ticket which will be torn upon entry to the match venue on Saturday with the information section to be put into the competition box for the half-time draw.
Banyana Banyana squad for the opening leg of the London 2012 home-and-away qualification leg vs Ethiopia, at the Orlando Stadium, at 3pm on Saturday, 27 August, 2011:
Goalkeepers:Thokozile Mndaweni (Croesus FC) Andile Dlamini (Sundowns ladies FC)
Defenders:Yola Jafta (University of Johannesburg) Amanda Sister (Liverpool Ladies) Simphiwe Masina (Detroit Ladies) Gabisile Hlumbane (Kovsies FC) Lebogang Mabatle (Hallelujah Zebra Force) Nothando Vilakazi (Palace Super Falcons)
Midfielders:Mamello Makhabane (Palace Super Falcons) Robyn Moodaly (Dlalantombazana) Nompumelelo Nyandeni (Rossiyanka, Russia) Kylie-Ann Louw (Stephen Austin University, Texas, USA) Mary Ntsweng (Tshwane University of Technology) Nomathemba Ntsibande (Springs Homesweepers) Sana Mollo (Bloemfontein Celtics)
Strikers:Noko Matlou (Brazilians FC) Amanda Dlamini (Captain, University of Johannesburg) Zanele Sukazi (University of Johannesburg)