Ellis Announces Final 24-Member Squad to Battle Nigeria for Paris Ticket

Bambanani Mbane (pictured) is one of two experienced players returning from injury as Banyana coach Desiree Ellis announces her final 24-member squad to face Nigeria in first away leg in Abuja, Nigeria, of the final round of CAF Women’s Olympic Qualifiers for Paris 2024. Photo: SAFA

Banyana Banyana Coach Desiree Ellis has trimmed down her squad to the final 24 players set to face Nigeria in the final leg of the CAF Women’s Olympic showdown.

Captain Refiloe Jane makes a welcomed return following a long-term injury lay-off that kept her out of action since the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Another player that got injured in New Zealand and Australia showpiece and will reinforce the defence is Bambanani Mbane. 

Bongeka Gamede and Sibulele Holweni are all also back in the team after injuries.

Speaking to Safa Media ahead of their trip to Nigeria Ellis says these returnees provide crucial experience to the squad: “There’s one thing that you can never buy – and that’s experience. But it only helps when it adds value, when it doesn’t it’s just that,” Ellis said.

“Experience helps a lot when it adds value to the team. But they’ve been there, in tough situations. They’ve been there when things were not okay, and they stood up (to the challenge).

“But we also have that enthusiasm of youth, and that is what will help us get things right. Getting that mix right… is what was important.”

Coach Ellis’ charges face rivals Nigeria in a highly anticipated Fourth Round CAF Women’s Olympic qualifier next month and the winner of this match will compete in Group C at the Paris Games. 

The Sasol-sponsored South African senior women’s team travel to Abuja in the first leg to Nigeria on 5 April before welcoming their traditional rivals at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on 9 April 2024.

“We wanted to make sure that we have a squad for every eventuality. So, we’ve added an extra player to the squad as well that will be traveling with us.

“This is not just any game. This is a game to qualify for the Olympics. So, we wanted to make sure of all of those things.”

A notable figure not included in the final 23 is experienced Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Andile Dlamini, who withdrew from the team due to medical reasons. Dlamini was replaced by Regirl Ngobeni.

The winner of the South Africa vs Nigeria match will join Brazil, Japan and Spain in Group C in the Olympic Games in Paris in July and August.

The CAF African Fourth Round Olympic Qualifier

Fri, 5 April: Nigeria vs South Africa (MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, Nigeria)
Tue, 9 April: South Africa vs Nigeria (Loftus Versveld, Pretoria, South Africa)

Women’s Football Groups Unveiled for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games

Group A: France, Colombia, Canada, New Zealand
Group B: USA, (1st African team: Morocco or Zambia), Germany, Australia
Group C: Spain, Japan, (2nd African team: South Africa or Nigeria), Brazil

The Final 24-Member Banyana Banyana Squad for the CAF Women’s Olympic Qualifier

Goalkeepers
Regirl Ngobeni
Kaylin Swart
Katlego Moletsane

Defenders
Karabo Dhlamini
Fikile Magama
Tiisetso Makhubela
Lonathemba Mhlongo
Bambanani Mbane
Noko Matlou
Lebogang Ramalepe
Bongeka Gamede

Midfielders
Linda Motlhalo
Refiloe Jane
Sibulele Holweni
Nonhlanhla Mthandi
Amogelang Motau
Nomvula Kgoale
Sinoxolo Cesane

Forwards
Gabriela Salgado
Jermaine Seoposenwe
Noxolo Cesane
Hildah Magaia
Thembi Kgatlana
Nthabiseng Majiya

Nigeria Full List of Invited Players

Goalkeepers
Chiamaka Nnadozie
Tochukwu Oluehi
Linda Jiwuaku

Defenders
Osinachi Ohale
Ashleigh Plumptre
Shukurat Oladipo
Michelle Alozie
Nicole Payne
Chidinma Okeke

Midfielders
Deborah Abiodun
Halimatu Ayinde
Christy Ucheibe
Jennifer Echegini
Rasheedat Ajibade
Toni Payne

Forwards
Omorinsola Babajide
Esther Okoronkwo
Ifeoma Onumonu
Asisat Oshoala
Uchenna Kanu
Gift Monday
Chiwendu Ihezuo


Main Photo Caption: Bambanani Mbane (pictured) is one of two experienced players returning from injury as Banyana coach Desiree Ellis announces her final 24-member squad to face Nigeria in first away leg in Abuja, Nigeria, of the final round of CAF Women’s Olympic Qualifiers for Paris 2024. Photo: SAFA

Photo 2 Caption: Banyan Banyana head coach, Desiree Ellis: “But we also have that enthusiasm of youth, and that is what will help us get things right. Getting that mix right… is what was important.” Photo: SAFA 

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