Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has named the squad that will carry the flag for South Africa at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
Ellis has been eager to construct a squad with experience of international competition.
Jermaine Seoposenwe, who went to Rio in 2016 with Banyana, and 2018 African Women’s Player of the Year Thembi Kgatlana are expected to lead the line for Ellis.
“I have looked at all the scenarios and I wanted to make sure that I gave players as much opportunity as possible to show themselves‚” Ellis said announcing the squad at Safa House in Nasrec‚ Johannesburg.
“Our squad not only has senior international experience – in the Olympics‚ continentally‚ in the Africa Cup of Nations and Cosafa Cup – but also from junior Under-17 level too. It has a combined total of more than 1‚000 international caps in it.”
29-year-old Leandra Smeda recently took a giant leap forward when she signed for Swedish Damallsvenskan club. She was the first South African to score in the Uefa Women’s Champions League while playing for Lithuanian club Gintra Universitetas. Smeda brings experience and versatility as she is capable of turning out on the wing or at fullback.
Banyana star Kgatlana currently plies her trade in China alongside midfielder Linda Motlhalo. They are among five players based abroad in the squad. South Africa doesn’t have a fully professional women’s league but their are plans to launch
The squad leave for France today to compete in the tournament that runs from 7 June until 7 July.
Below is the squad;
Goalkeepers: Mapaseka Mpuru (University of Pretoria)‚ Andile Dlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns)‚ Kaylin Swart (Golden Stars)
Defenders: Lebogang Ramalepe (Ma-Indies)‚ Nothando Vilakazi (Gintra Universitetas‚ Lithuania)‚ Noko Matlou (Ma-Indies)‚ Janine van Wyk (captain‚ JVW)‚ Bambanani Mbane (Bloemfontein Celtic)‚ Tiisetso Makhubela (Mamelodi Sundowns)‚ Bongeka Gamede (UWC Ladies)
Midfielders: Refiloe Jane (Unattached)‚ Mamello Makhabane (JVW)‚ Karabo Dhlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns)‚ Busisiwe Ndimeni (TUT-PTA)‚ Leandra Smeda (Vittsjö GIK‚ Sweden)‚ Kholosa Biyana (University of KwaZulu-Natal)‚ Sibulele Holweni (Sophakama/HPC)‚ Linda Motlhalo (Beijing Phoenix‚ China)
Forwards: Thembi Kgatlana (Beijing Phoenix‚ China)‚ Ode Fulutudilu (Malaga‚ Spain)‚ Amanda Mthandi (University of Johannesburg)‚ Jermaine Seoposenwe (Gintra Universitetas‚ Lithuania)‚ Rhoda Mulaudzi (Unattached).
Source: James Richardson