JOHANNESBURG – Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has named a squad of 24 players to play Lesotho in the second round of the 2018 Africa Women's Cup of Nations qualifiers which starts on June 6 at the Setsoto Stadium in Maseru.
The Sasol-sponsored squad includes the bulk of tried and tested players who took part in the Cyprus Cup in March.
“This is the start of the road to the World Cup in France. We have played Lesotho before and even though we beat them, this is a new game and a different occasion," said Ellis.
"Victory will get us to the 2018 AWCON in Ghana, but we are all aware that no game is as easy as it seems and we have to be at our best to get a positive result in the first leg. We need to start on a good footing so we can finish the business at home,” said Ellis.
She has included three new faces in the squad – Karabo Dhlamini (women’s Under-17) and Khanya Xesi (women’s Under-20 squad), as well as Hilda Magaia, who has starred for TUT this season.
The former Banyana captain has also recalled three uncapped players – Mapaseka Mpuru, who was with the team during preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games; Thato Letsoso, who was in the squad for the Burkina Faso clash and Gabriela Salgado, who was at the camp for the 2017 Cosafa Cup.
After her good performances in the Cyprus Women’s Cup, Noko Matlou has been included as a striker – a position she now regularly plays for her club.
Also making a return after a long absence due to injury is midfielder Mamello Makhabane. She was injured during the 2016 Sasol League National Championship and has only recently returned to the game.
Goalkeeper Yolula Tsawe is also back – she was last in the squad for the friendly international against Sweden in January this year.
No overseas-based players have been called up.
Banyana Banyana assembles for camp on Friday, June 1 in Johannesburg and will later travel to Bloemfontein where they will have their training camp and will then move to Lesotho on Sunday, June 3.
The return match will take place at a venue still to be confirmed on Sunday, June 10.
Banyana Banyana squad
Goalkeepers: Andile Dhlamini, Mapaseka Mpuru, Roxanne Barker, Yolula Tsawe
Defenders: Lebogang Ramalepe, Nothando Vilakazi, Zanele Nhlapho, Bambanani Mbane, Regina Mogolola, Karabo Dhlamini, Thato Letsoso.
Midfielders: Kgaelebane Mohlakoana, Rachel Sebati, Mamello Makhabane, Refiloe Jane, Leandra Smeda, Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Hilda Magaia, Gabriela Salgado
Forwards: Jermaine Seoposenwe, Melinda Kgadiete, Chantelle Esau, Khanya Xesi, Noko Matlou.
African News Agency