Aisha Buhari Cup will be a vital warm-up for Banyana Banyana
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JOHANNESBURG - BANYANA Banyana coach Desiree Ellis will be looking to guide her troops all the way in the upcoming Aisha Buhari Cup
Locked in Group B of the competition, Banyana have been grouped with Ghana and Cameroon. They are due to play their first game of the tournament this afternoon against Ghana at the Mobolaji Johnson Stadium in Lagos, Nigeria.
The upcoming games will be vital for Ellis' side as they prepare to contest the 2022 Africa Women's Cup of Nations (Awcon) qualifiers which start from late October.
The Banyana squad that will contest the Buhari Cup contains a good balance of youth and experience with both local and overseas stars on the roster.
Among the star names in the squad are veteran Janine van Wyk, Lebogang Ramalepe, AC Milan's Refiloe Jane, Hilda Magaia and Atletico Madrid's
Exciting South African-based players in the squad include the University of Western Cape's Sibulele Holweni, the experienced Robyn Moodaly and Gabriela Salgado.
The Aisha Buhari Cup also kickstarts a busy period for Banyana as they will also host the upcoming Cosafa Women's Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay from September 28-October 9.
“We have the Buhari Cup, the Cosafa Cup, and the Awcon.
“We have worked on what we think we will need to cover over the coming two months.
“Consistency and regular game time are always key as we want to make sure that we have covered our bases but the Buhari Cup will dictate what happens next,” said Ellis.
Banyana have not been in action since April but Ellis maintains that the players are in good shape and raring to go.
“We are happy with what we have seen and will continue from here. With restarts players always think that they are doing nothing but it takes into account what they have done over the last few days, especially the players coming from Mamelodi Sundowns.
“We have to manage the players in camp to make sure we keep them fresh but also to make sure that they get some work in,” said Ellis.
Banyana have competed in every Awcon event since 1995 but have yet to win the showpiece.
They will certainly be among the favourites to win the showpiece should they successfully qualify as is expected.
South Africa squad:
Goalkeepers: Kaylin Swart (JVW FC), Mapaseka Mpuru (University of Pretoria) Defenders: Karabo Makhurubetshi (Mamelodi Sundowns), Tiisetso Makhubela (Tshwane University of Technology), Bambanani Mbane (Mamelodi Sundowns), Ongeziwe Ndlangisa (Sunflower FC), Janine Van Wyk (Glasgow City, Scotland), Koketso Tlailane (Tshwane University of Technology)
Midfielders: Mamello Makhabane (JVW FC), Oratile Mokwena (Mamelodi Sundowns), Gabriela Salgado (JVW FC), Noxolo Cesane (University of the Western Cape), Robyn Moodaly (JVW FC), Sibulele Holweni (University of the Western Cape) Forwards: Melinda Kgadiete (Mamelodi Sundowns), Ntombifikile Ndlovu (Sunflower FC), Kgaelebane Mohlakoana (Bloemfontein Celtic), Amanda Mthandi (University of Johannesburg), Rhoda Mulaudzi (Mamelodi Sundowns), Chabana Reitumetse (Bloemfontein Celtic)