Banyana Banyana begin their 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a tough Group C opener against defending champions and perennial nemesis Nigeria in Rabat on Monday.
Team Profile: South Africa
Nickname: Banyana Banyana
FIFA Ranking: 57
How they qualified:
Banyana Banyana made a perfect start to their journey with a 12-0 aggregate thrashing of Cosafa counterparts Mozambique in October. Five months later, they edged North African side Algeria 3-1 on aggregate to nick their 12th qualification ticket.
Qualifying results, first round: Mozambique 0-7 South Africa (0-5)
Second round: South Africa 2-0 Algeria (1-1)
The four-time runners-up began preparation for the finals with a friendly against the Netherlands in April. Despite losing 5-1 to the European champions, they exposed some domestic players and gained excellent experience. They will converge again in June for the finals.
Coach: Desiree Ellis
The 59-year-old made history in 2018 when she guided Banyana Banyana to their fourth WAFCON final and the Women's World Cup for the first time. The two-time CAF Women's Coach of the Year will set her sights on breaking the African title jinx after defeating Nigeria to win the 2021 Aisah Buhari Cup.
Key players, Janine Van Wyk:
The 35-year-old is the most capped South Africa player, with over 170 appearances with the country. She is back as a player-coach at her own club JVW FC, having left Scottish side Glasgow City. With two silvers in six WAFCON tournaments, Van Wyk will now aim to provide the much-needed leadership to win the first title on her seventh appearance.
The 25-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough tournament at the Ghana 2018 TotalEnergies WAFCON where she won the Player of the Tournament and top scorer awards. The 2018 African Women's Player of the Year also made history as she scored Banyana Banyana's first goal at the Women's World Cup. The Atletico Madrid striker will aim to replicate her 2018 form in Banyana's African crown hunt.
Seoposenwe is one of Banyana Banyana's best performers abroad following her exploits with Sporting Braga this season. The 28-year-old has been influential in Braga's Portuguese Women's League Cup triumph and Women's Cup semi-final finish, scoring eight goals and providing five assists. Despite her three-year absence from the Banyana fold, her superb form puts her in good stead to inspire the Cosafa giants.