Banyana Banyana head coach Joseph Mkhonza has named his squad for the 2012 African Women’s Championship to be held in Equatorial Guinea later this month.
It will be the first time that Banyana are in competitive play after their brave showing at the 2012 London Olympics when they exited in the first round, but held world champions Japan to a credible draw.
Mkhonza has retained the bulk of that squad, but also added two new names to the mix.
In come Durban Ladies striker Silindile Ngubane and Pretoria High Performance Centre goalkeeper Katlego Moletsane.
Ngubane, who found the back of the net on 11 occasions for Durban Ladies at the Sasol League National Championships held in Umlazi, near Durban in July, and goalkeeper Moletsane – back-up for regular No 1 Thoko Mndaweni and young Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies goalkeeper Andile Dlamini, are a part of the 21 names announced by the coach on Tuesday.
Banyana have been drawn in Group A at the prestigious continental championship and will face hosts Equatorial Guinea in Malabo on October 28, Senegal in Malabo on October 31, and will travel to the island city of Bata for their encounter with DR Congo on November 3.
A good run of form will see the South Africans play in the semifinals in either Malabo or Bata on November 7, with the 3rd/4th place playoff and the title decider both scheduled for Malabo on November 11.
By November 11, Banyana could well have two new centurions in their midst, with inspirational midfielder Nompumelelo Nyandeni going to Equatorial Guinea on 96 caps and striker Portia Modise on 95 caps (having scored 72 goals for her country).
Experienced University of Johannesburg Ladies midfielder Yola Jafta returns to the Banyana Banyana team after missing the London Olympics due to injury.
“Banyana Banyana finished third at the CAF African Women Championship held in Ekurhuleni, near Johannesburg two years ago, and the ladies are determined to finish 2012 on a high note after having represented Africa at the Olympic Games in London,” said coach Mkhonza.
“Thanks to Safa and our team sponsor Sasol, we have been able to allow the players to be put through their paces in national training camps in Johannesburg this month, before we head off to prepare the team in hot climatic conditions in Yaoundé, Cameroon from October 17 to 25.”
Thereafter, the national team will depart Cameroon for Malabo to conclude their final preparations for the African women’s football showpiece event.
In congratulating the Banyana Banyana players on their selection, Safa CEO Robin Petersen said:
“The selection of Silindile Ngubane to the Banyana Banyana team is a sign of the importance of the Sasol League and the Sasol League National Championships as a feeder of talent to the national side, and I would like to welcome her, as well as goalkeeper Katlego Moletsane to the national team.''
“May Banyana Banyana bring further pride to our football-crazy country as they look to improve on their 2nd place position they achieved in Equatorial Guinea 4 years ago, by winning the tournament, and beating both their CAF and FIFA rankings. Banyana Banyana are currently ranked 56th in the world and 4th in Africa.”
BANYANA BANYANA SQUAD
Thokozile Mndaweni (University of Johannesburg, Gauteng)
Andile Dlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies, Gauteng)
Katlego Moletsane (High Performance Centre, Tshwane)
Nothando Vilakazi (Palace Super Falcons, Gauteng)
Amanda Sister (Liverpool Ladies, Eastern Cape)
Janine van Wyk (v.c) (Palace Super Falcons, Gauteng)
Zamandosi Cele (Durban Ladies, KwaZulu Natal)
Refiloe Jane (Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies, Gauteng)
Lebogang Mabatle (Hallelujah Zebra Force, Gauteng)
Leandra Smeda (Cape Town Roses, Western Cape)
Nocawe Skiti (Cape Town Roses, Western Cape)
Amanda Dlamini (c) (University of Johannesburg, Gauteng)
Gabisile Hlumbane (Kovsies Ladies, Free State)
Yola Jafta (University of Johannesburg, Gauteng)
Nompumelelo Nyandeni (FC Rossiyanka, Russia)
Noko Matlou (University of Johannesburg, Gauteng)
Portia Modise (Palace Super Falcons, Gauteng)
Andiswe Mgcoyi (Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies, Gauteng)
Silindile Ngubane (Durban Ladies, KwaZulu Natal)
Sanah Mollo (Bloemfontein Celtics Ladies, Free State)
Jermaine Seoposenwe (Santos, Western Cape)