Banyana Banyana host Zambia, Botswana in 2022 Awcon qualifier warm-up friendlies

Banyana vs Lesotho
Safa media
Desiree Ellis' side will face their neighbours in the build-up to their qualifiers for next year's Africa Women's Cup of Nations

South Africa women's national team will face Zambia, Botswana in the first build-up to the 2022 Africa Women's Cup of Nations qualifiers, with Desiree Ellis inviting 26 plyers for the April camp.

Banyana Banyana had regrouped for the first time with a local squad in March since November's 2020 Cosafa Women's Cup success - a feat achieved predominately by domestic players. 

In a quest to launch preparations for the 2022 Awcon and Cosafa Cup, Ellis will have the full complement of her side for the first time since the Olympic qualifying loss to Botswana in 2019.

According to Safa, Banyana will face the Copper Queens and the Zebras on Saturday, 10 April and Tuesday, 13 April respectively, with the games taking place at Bidvest Wits Stadium.

In the 26-player list, Spain based trio Thembi Kgatlana, Noko Matlou and Amanda Mthandi are expected, while captain Janine Van Wyk and assistant Refiloe Jane will miss out on the squad.

Kholosa Biyana, Hildah Magaia, Linda Motlhalo, Jermaine Seoposenwe, Karabo Dhlamini, Lebohang Ramalepe and Rhoda Mulaudzi were also among the notable absentees.

Commenting on the doubleheader and roster, Ellis lamented the unfortunate impact of Covid-19 restrictions on the unavailability of some of the foreign players in the team's build-up.

“We have a program for the year that we need to stick to, to ensure that we are ready for our qualifiers once the draw comes out," she told the Safa website

"The past year has been very difficult for us with no football permitted to play, but we need to look forward and ensure that we reach our goals.

“We are still faced with challenges due to the pandemic but we cannot let that demoralise us.

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"We had called up some of our players plying their trade abroad, but they could not be released for these friendly matches due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

"We have to soldier on and perhaps start planning around a few locally-based players to stabilise the team.”

South Africa open camp on Monday, April 5 in Johannesburg, five days from their first warm-up encounter against Bruce Mwape's side.