Banyana Banyana spirit high despite injury-enforced withdrawal of Nyandeni
Banyana Banyana’s depth in midfield will come in handy following the injury-enforced withdrawal of experienced Russia-based midfielder Nompumelelo Nyandeni from the national team in Cyprus on Sunday, 26 February 2012.
Nyandeni reported into camp 48 hours earlier carrying a right knee injury and the Banyana Banyana coaching staff followed the recommendation of the squad’s medical team that the FC Rossiyanka player be withdrawn from the 12-nation Cyprus Women’s Cup tournament which starts on Tuesday (28 February 2012).
“Losing a player of Nyandeni’s calibre and experience would be a blow to any international team, but I am confident that Banyana Banyana will be able to apply themselves well at this Cyprus tournament,” said Banyana Banyana head coach Joseph Mkhonza.
“We are confident that all playing positions are covered and will not call for a replacement to be flown in from South Africa. The spirit in the camp is high as all the players realise that the standard of play at this tournament will give us a good assessment as to what can be expected at the Olympics.”
Mkhonza and his technical team still have a host of quality midfiel
ders to choose from in Nomathemba Ntsibande, Leandra Smeda, Chuene Morifi, Memory Makhanya, Mary Ntsweng, Nondyebo Mgudu and Kylie-Ann Louw, with Gabisile Hlumbane and Simphiwe Masina also available when needed. The latter duo is equally at home in defence or midfield.
Nyandeni, who has been capped 92 times
for her country and scored 7 goals, expressed her disappointment at not being able to play for her country in Cyprus. But she was upbeat about returning to full fitness to assist Banyana Banyana en route to their participation at the Olympics in London in July.
“I was really looking forward to playing in Cyprus as it was at this tournament two years ago that I was spotted by FC Rossiyanka,” said Nyandeni, who made her name in South Africa as an enterprising midfielder in the colours of Mpumalanga-based inaugural Sasol League National Champions, Detroit Ladies.
“But Banyana Banyana is not about one player. The players have been together for quite some time having been in a national training camp in Stellenbosch in January and then the recent three-match stay in Brazil prior to flying to Cyprus. I am sure there is sufficient depth for the team to enjoy a successful tournament,” she added.
“All of the Banyana Banyana players undergo medical assessment when they report in for national team duty and it is unfortunate that Nyandeni will not be able to be considered for team selection due to injury,” said Banyana Banyana team doctor Paul Maphoto.
“We will remain in contact with FC Rossiyank in order to monitor the rehabilitation process regarding Nyandeni’s injury is concerned.”
Banyana Banyana will open their Cyprus Women’s Cup campaign against South Korea on Tuesday (28 February). The other nations in Banyana Banyana’s group are New Zealand and Northern Ireland.