Banyana without Andile Dlamini for crucial Olympic qualifiers against Nigeria

South African senior national women's football team coach Desiree Ellis gestures during a training at Highlands Park in Johannesburg

File. Andile Dlamini will not be available for the Banyana squad which will be announced later on Thursday by coach Desiree Ellis (pictured). Picture: Michele Spatari/AFP

Published Mar 28, 2024


Banyana Banayana will have to make do without the services of Andile Dlamini for their upcoming Olympic Games qualifiers against Nigeria next month.

Banyana will take on hosts Nigeria on April 5, before the return leg on April 9 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. The winner on aggregate will qualify for the Paris Olympics in July and August.

Dlamini, however, will not be available for the squad which will be announced later on Thursday.

Banyana coach Desiree Ellis would have preferred to have the 31-year-old keeper available, but said there would still be plenty depth in the squad.

‘Warms my heart’

“We have lost players at the last minute minus Andile, she withdrew because of medical reasons. But I’m happy that I have Bambani [Mbane], Sibulele [Holweni] and Refiloe [Jane] back, that really warms my heart because these are experienced players and we will need their experience to get over this hurdle,” said Ellis.

“It doesn’t affect it much because you know we have a group of players - if somebody steps out we have another player stepping in. It gives an opportunity for someone else to raise their hand.

“Look at the fixtures it was the top five, six teams have lost battling week-in week-out, so the intensity was really good, and luckily we didn’t lose players due to injuries minus Andile.”

Banyana assembled in Pretoria on Monday, and their first official training session was held on Tuesday.

Samkelisiwe Selana has also been withdrawn due to an injury .

Dlamini will be replaced by Regirl Ngobeni while Selana was replaced by Mmabatho Mogale.

“It really looks good, the enthusiasm and the intensity,” Ellis said. “We spoke about how big this game is in our welcome meeting and it shows that everyone is up for it. It was a good session and we had to manage the load since some players played on Thursday and on Sunday.”

“I have to make sure that I get the combinations right. I have to make absolutely sure because it won’t be an easy game against Nigeria. They have shown their quality over a period of time and they are still a quality team, so we have to be at our absolute best.

“We have to make sure that we get the combinations right as well as the mix of youth and experience right.”


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