Interim head coach of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana, Desiree Ellis, has named a squad of 21 players to play in the Cyprus Women’s Cup.
The matches are played in the cities of Nicosia, Paralimni and Larnaca.
The competition has been held since 2008, and Switzerland are the current champions.
For the 2018 edition, Banyana Banyana have been drawn in Group C alongside Hungary, Slovakia as well as Trinidad and Tobago.
“This tournament also gives us another opportunity to play more teams that are higher ranked than us. It also helps us to monitor our progress as we need to improve in certain areas of our game based on the Sweden match we played not so long ago – minimizing our mistakes, work and improve our fitness level, to work as a unit and sharpen our finishing,” said Ellis.
The former Banyana Banyana captain has called up the bulk of the team that recently played against Sweden in an international friendly match in Cape Town (Sunday, 21 January 2018). Missing out from that squad are: Yolula Tsawe, Zanele Nhlapho, Yonela Keto, Amogelang Motau, Neliswa Luthuli, Xolisile Mnikathi and Kelso Peskin.
“We kept much the same squad we had against Sweden as the Sasol League – where most of our players ply their trade – has not started yet. The league ended in November and thanks to the personal programme we are forwarding to the players, they have come to camp looking in good shape,” added Ellis.
She has recalled goalkeeper Roxanne Barker, who replaces Tsawe, while Linda Motlhalo also returns in place of Motau.
Motlhalo was last with Banyana Banyana in the January 2016 international friendly against France in Reunion – and this will serve as a cherry on top after she signed with Houston Dash in the United States of America.
The South African U20 Women’s National Team captain will leave for her new side immediately after the Cyprus Cup, along with captain Janine Van Wyk.
“Roxanne has been recalled as she was not available against Sweden due to work commitments. We also welcome back Linda Motlhalo – but let me first congratulate her on signing for Houston Dash. She showed what a special talent she is when we played against the USA in Chicago and also when we competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics. It is truly exciting and amazing news for Women’s football in South Africa,” said Ellis.
“Vera Pauw gave Linda her debut Banyana Banyana debut against Cameroon – she scored in that game, and also in the following match. We are looking forward to her showcasing her talent to the rest of the world. She could not be with us as she was busy with her Matric studies last year, after she took off a year from school in the Olympic year. She was also playing for the South African U20 Women’s National Team in their quest to qualify for the World Cup. We are truly happy she can join us now, especially at the back of such good news from Houston Dash, and we expect her to come here high in confidence, which will work in our favour.”
This is the 11th edition of the Cyprus Women’s Cup and takes place annually in Cyprus.
South Africa will be making their sixth appearance – they were there in 2009 (6th position finish), 2010 (8th), 2012 (10th), 2013 (11th) and 2015 (10th).
Banyana Banyana will face Slovakia in their opening match to be played on Wednesday, 28 February.
Kickoff is at 13h00.
The next match will see South Africa taking on Hungary on Friday, 2 March at 18h00.
In the last group stage clash, Banyana Banyana will lock horns with Trinidad & Tobago on Monday, 5 March at 13h00.
PARTICIPATING NATIONS – 2018 Cyprus Women’s Cup:
Group C: Hungary, Slovakia, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago
BANYANA BANYANA FIXTURES AT THE 2018 CYPRUS WOMEN’S CUP
Wednesday, 28 February:
Slovakia vs South Africa
Friday, 2 March:
South Africa vs Hungary
Monday, 5 March:
South Africa vs Trinidad & Tobago
PREVIOUS WINNERS OF CYPRUS WOMEN´S CUP
2008 – Canada
2009 – England
2010 – Canada
2011 – Canada
2012 – France
2013 – England
2014 – France
2015 – England
2016 – Austria
2017 – Switzerland
oto: Florian Choblet / AFP
South African Senior Women’s National Team – CYPRUS WOMENS CUP 2018
1. Andile Dlamini - Mamelodi Sundowns FC Pretoria
2. Kaylin Swart - Menlo College USA
3. Roxanne Barker - Cape Town Roses Cape Town
4. Lebogang Ramalepe - Maindis FC Polokwane
5. Nothando Vilakazi - Palace Super Falcons FC Johannesburg
6. Janine Van Wyk - Houston Dash USA
7. Noko Matlou Maindis - FC Polokwane
8. Bambanani Mbane - Bloemfontein Celtic Bloemfontein
9. Regina Mogolola - TUKS Pretoria
10. Kholosa Biyana University - KZN Kwa-Zulu Natal
11. Kgaelebane Mohlakoana - Bloemfontein Celtic Bloemfontein
12. Rachel Sebati - TUT-PTA Pretoria
13. Thembi Kgatlana - UWC Ladies Cape Town
14. Linda Motlhalo - Houston Dash USA
15. Refiloe Jane - TUT-PTA Pretoria
16. Leandra Smeda - UWC Ladies Cape Town
17. Nompumelelo Nyandeni - JVW FC Johannesburg
18. Jermaine Seoposenwe - Samford University USA
19. Melinda Kgadiete - Bloemfontein Celtic Bloemfontein
20. Chantelle Esau - Mamelodi Sundowns FC Pretoria
21. Sduduzo Dlamini - Sunflower FC Kwa-Zulu Natal