Bambanani Mbane will start in place of Noko Matlou against Chile. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

SANTIAGO, Chile – Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has named the starting 11 to face Chile on Saturday in the first of two international friendly matches in the capital Santiago at Estadio Santa Laura, on Saturday.

Ellis has kept the bulk of the team that played the final of the Cosafa Women’s Championship against Cameroon in Port Elizabeth last month, but made two changes – bringing in defender Bambanani Mbane and forward Leandra Smeda for Noko Matlou and Thembi Kgatlana respectively.

Smeda makes her return to the starting 11 after missing out on the Cosafa Cup due to club commitments in Lithuania, while Mbane started off the bench against Cameroon, coming on as a late substitute in the 2-1 victory.

Goalkeeper Kaylin Swart retains her place, and will be supported at the rear by fullbacks Lebogang Ramalepe (right back) and Nothando Vilakazi (left back), with captain Janine van Wyk partnering Mbane in the heart of defence.

The combination of Refiloe Jane and Kholosa Biyana continues in the middle of the part, with Smeda and Kgaelebane Mohlakoane running the wings.

Linda Motlhalo will play just behind lone striker Jermaine Seoposenwe.

Banyana Banyana and Chile will meet at Estadio Sausalito in Vina del Mar, Chile’s fourth largest city.

Kickoff is at 6.30pm South African time.

This will be the first-ever meeting between the two nations, and South Africa is the first African women’s national team to face Chile in their backyard.

The South Americans are ranked 39th in the world.

Banyana are not far behind, coming in 11 places behind their opponents – position 50 in the world.

The second match will be played at the same venue on Tuesday.

Kickoff is at 5pm South African time.

Banyana are using the matches as preparation for the upcoming Africa Women’s Cup of Nations scheduled for Ghana next month – the tournament serves as qualifiers for the 2019 Women’s World Cup qualifiers to be played in France in June.

Banyana Banyana Team

20. Kaylin Swart (keeper), 2. Lebohang Ramalepe, 3. Nothando Vilakazi, 5. Janine Van Wyk (captain), 6. Kgaelebane Mohlakoana, 10. Linda Motlhalo, 12. Jermaine Seoposenwe, 13. Bambanani Mbane, 15. Refiloe Jane, 17.Leandra Smeda, 19. Kholosa Biyana.

African News Agency (ANA)