Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has confirmed that they will be without three key players for their upcoming international friendly against World Champions USA.
The South African Women’s national team coach has announced her 26-player squad for their upcoming international friendly.
However, the likes of Sweden-based Leandra Smeda, as well as Linda Motlhalo and Thembi Kgatlana, who play in China, will not be available due to club commitments.
‘The absence of Thembi, Linda and Leandra comes at a crucial time of our preparation and you want to have your more experienced players available for such a big match, but unfortunately it is not during the Fifa calendar. Now is the time for the other squad members to show their mettle and grab the opportunity,’ Ellis said.
Ellis has since called up three players who did not feature in their last friendly against Jamaica, including Mapaseka Mpuru and Charmelle Wiltshire, as well as Nomvula Kgoale.
‘We have brought in an extra goalkeeper to give more competition to the other goal-minders. Mapaseka has played for the U20 national team and has been to several Banyana Banyana camps. She was also key in her team winning the Sello Mokoena Memorial tournament in Johannesburg recently,’ she added.
‘Nomvula has played for Banyana Banyana before [2011 All Africa Games] and has been to many training camps of the senior team. She is another utility player that was at the U17 World Cup in 2010 in Trinidad and Tobago [along with Jermaine Seoposenwe and Kaylin Swart, who are in the current squad]. Charmelle has also played for the U20s, and both players have gained some experience playing in the USA.’
Banyana’s clash against the world champions forms part of their preparations for the upcoming Fifa Women’s World Cup in France, which runs from 7 June to 7 July.
‘It’s a huge moment for players when you get the opportunity to play the No 1-ranked team, who are also the World Champions. You cannot ask for a tougher match to test yourself. We have played a few matches this year and did not get the desired results, but each and every game showed an improvement,’ Ellis said.
‘It’s another opportunity to see where we at, just about a month away from the start of the 2019 World Cup. Make no mistake, this will be our most difficult game thus far. It’s also the final opportunity for players to once again fight for spots in the World Cup squad, which we will announce soon after this match.’
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