Head coach of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana, Desiree Ellis, has announced a provisional squad of 31 players to start preparations for the upcoming 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations tournament scheduled for Ghana from 17 November to 1 December.
The premier African Women’s football showpiece will be used as a 2019 FIFA Women World Cup qualifier – the top three nations in Ghana will represent the continent at the World Cup in France in June.
Ellis’ squad shows consistency, as she has not deviated much from the players that have been doing business for Banyana Banyana since the beginning of the year in the international friendly clash against Sweden.
The 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship gold medalists recently returned from the tour of Chile where they played two international friendly matches against the host nation – losing 2-1 and also playing to a 2-2 draw.
“We have brought in players that have been part of our core group for a while now, and those we have been monitoring over a period of time. The training camp will focus mainly on improving team cohesion and fitness, while at the same time also keeping an eye on the new players,” said Ellis.
“We have now reached the business end of the year where the planning has to be meticulous as we are edging closer to the tournament.”
Among those getting a recall are Yolula Tsawe, Mamello Makhabane (both JVW FC), Hilda Magaia, Jabulile Mazibuko (both TUT-PTA), Siyamthanda Skeyi (Thunderbirds) and Amogelang Motau (Oral Roberts University – USA).
The players will assemble for camp on Sunday, 21 October in Johannesburg, but they will be without Finland-based striker Ode Fulutudilu who was called up but declined due to club commitments.
Fulutudilu was part of the squad that recently travelled to Chile for two international friendly matches, and played from the bench in the second fixture.
Striker Sduduzo Dlamini of Sunflower FC in Durban has taken her place.
Ellis will trim the squad down to 21 players on Friday, 26 October.
The 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations tournament will be played in Ghana from 17 November to 1 December. The top three nations in Ghana will represent the continent at the 2019 FIFA Women World Cup in France next June.
Andile DLAMINI (Mamelodi Sundowns), Kaylin SWART (Menlo College/Awaiting Transfer), Roxanne BARKER (UWC), Yolula TSAWE (JVW), Lebogang RAMALEPE (Ma-Indies), Nothando VILAKAZI (Palace Super Falcons), Janine VAN WYK (Houston Dash/Awaiting Transfer), Bambanani MBANE (Bloemfontein Celtic), Regina MOGOLOLA (UP-Tuks), Noko MATLOU (Ma-Indies), Tiisetso MAKHUBELA (Mamelodi Sundowns), Thato LETSOSO (UJ), Koketso TLAILANE (TUT), Kgaelebane MOHLAKOANA (Bloemfontein Celtic), Refiloe JANE (Canberra), Rachel SEBATI (TUT), Mamello MAKHABANE (JVW), Sduduzo DLAMINI (Sunflower), Leandra SMEDA (Gintra Universitetas), Nompumelelo NYANDENI (JVW), Linda MOTLHALO (Houston Dash), Kholosa BIYANA (UKZN), Hildah MAGAIA (TUT), Jabulile MAZIBUKO (TUT), Siyamthanda SKEYI (Thunderbirds), Khanya XESI (UWC), Amogelang MOTAU (Oral Roberts University), Jermaine SEOPOSENWE (JVW), Thembi KGATLANA (Houston Dash), Melinda KGADIETE (Bloemfontein Celtic), Amanda MTHANDI (UJ)