Head coach of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana, Desiree Ellis, has named a squad of 22 players to take on former World Champions Japan in an international friendly match scheduled for Sunday, 10 November 2019.
“This is a big test for us, more so because it comes at the back of a loss in the Olympic qualifiers. This is a great test of character for the players as we will be facing one of the most formidable sides in women’s football, who have won the World Cup,” said Ellis.
“We also haven’t played in a while, but I am confident that with most players having featured for their clubs regularly, we will stand our ground. Once again a big thank you to SAFA and our sponsor Sasol for making this match happen – we are eternally grateful.”
Ellis has kept the bulk of the squad that did duty in Banyana Banyana’s last match – against Botswana in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifiers early in September.
“I believe we have selected the best available players.” – Banyana Banyana head coach, Desiree Ellis.
The former Banyana captain, Ellis, has called up Nomvula Kgoale, who was last in the national team in the friendly match against the USA. Also returning are China-based Thembi Kgatlana and Linda Motlhalo – the duo missed the Botswana clash, while Jessica Williams and Ongeziwe Ndlangisa also got the nod. Both were part of the pre-World Cup training squad.
There is only one new cap – Lelona Daweti who plays for Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies. She has been capped in the U-17 and U-20 Women’s National Teams.
“This is a once-off game where you can’t make wholesale changes or bring in many new players but I believe we have selected the best available players we have, more so because some of those we wanted are busy with exams,” added Ellis.
Missing out are captain Janine van Wyk, who is still recovering from a knee injury – Italy-based Refiloe Jane will lead the team. Also not travelling to the Far East are Hilda Magaia, Amanda Mthandi, Bongeka Gamede, Karabo Dhlamini and Sibulele Holweni who are all busy with exams.
This will be the second ever meeting between the two nations, and Ellis knows all too well that they are a very formidable side.
This is also a special game for Smeda who could be joining the 100-cap club that includes Janine van Wyk, Amanda Dlamini, Portia Modise, Mamello Makhabane, Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Matlou and Jane.
Full Banyana Banyana Squad:
GK: Andile Dlamini
GK: Kaylin Swart
GK: Jessica Williams
DF: Lebogang Ramalepe
DF: Bambanani Mbane
DF: Nothando Vilakazi
DF: Tiisetso Makhubela
DF: Noko Matlou
DF: Ongeziwe Ndlangisa
MF: Leandra Smeda
MF: Mamello Makhabane
MF: Busisiwe Ndimeni
MF: Refiloe Jane
MF: Kholosa Biyana
MF: Linda Motlhalo
MF: Robyn Moodaly
MF: Noxolo Cesane
MF: Nomvula Kgoale
FW: Jermaine Seoposenwe
FW: Rhoda Mulaudzi
FW: Thembi Kgatlana
FW: Lelona Daweti
Photo 1 Caption: Banyana Banyana head coach, Desiree Ellis, has named a squad of 22 players that will be heading off to Japan for an international friendly against the former World Champions on Sunday, 10 November 2019. Photo: SAFA.net
With editing by gsport