Nompumelelo Nyandeni was the big omission on Friday as coach Desiree Ellis announced her Banyana Banyana squad for the Women’s World Cup in France.
Nyandeni, who has earned 149 caps and played in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, made way for a couple of youngsters as Ellis looked to the future as well.
Goalkeeper Mapaseka Mpuru and defender Bongeka Gamede are the two uncapped players in the group, while veteran defender Janine van Wyk will captain the side in France.
Nyandeni, though, has lost out in midfield, where the likes of teenagers Karabo Dhlamini and Sibulele Holweni – who played in the Under-17 World Cup last year – made the cut instead, alongside the experienced Refiloe Jane and Leandra Smeda, among others.
Van Wyk (166) is one of four players in the squad who have gone past a century – the other three being Noko Matlou (152), Nothando Vilakazi (129) and Jane (104).
“It was a difficult period to complete the final squad with many players raising their hands, and that is why we left it until late to announce our team,” Ellis said on Friday.
“We went with a lot of experience and included some youngsters, because we also have to think about the future.
“I have always believed in the saying that if a player looks ready, don’t mind their age – just give them a chance.
“I have full confidence in the squad that we have selected, and I believe we will surprise many at the tournament.”
Banyana will play one more friendly, against Norway in Amiens, France on 2 June, before starting their World Cup against Spain in Le Havre on 8 June.
The last two group matches are against China on 13 June in Paris, and Germany in Montpellier on 17 June.
Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis at a Press Conference to announce her team to go to the FIFA Women's World Cup in France pic.twitter.com/JCfri2KUcN— Banyana_Banyana (@Banyana_Banyana) May 17, 2019
Banyana Banyana Squad
Goalkeepers: Andile Dlamini (Sundowns), Kaylin Swart (Golden Stars), Mapaseka Mpuru (University of Pretoria).
Defenders: Lebogang Ramalepe (Polokwane), Nothando Vilakazi (Lithuania), Noko Matlou (Polokwane), Janine van Wyk (Joburg, captain), Bambanani Mbane (Bloemfontein), Bongeka Gamede (Cape Town), Tiisetso Makhubela (Joburg).
Midfielders: Refiloe Jane, Mamello Makhabane, Karabo Dlamini (Joburg), Leandra Smeda (Sweden), Kholosa Biyana (Durban), Busisiwe Ndimeni (Pretoria), Sibulele Holweni (Port Elizabeth), Linda Motlhalo (China).
Strikers: Rhoda Mulaudzi, Amanda Mthandi (Joburg), Thembi Kgatlana (China), Jermaine Seoposenwe (Lithuania), Ode Fulutudilu (Spain).@ashfakmohamed