Article by: Pearl Modise
An 18-woman squad was assembled by Banyana Banyana Coach, Desiree Ellis for a training camp that commenced from 15-19 March 2021 at the SAFA Technical Centre in Johannesburg. Since the COSAFA Cup triumph in November 2020 this was the first time that the South African Senior Women’s National team got together.
The purpose of the training camp was to assess the players fitness level in order to prepare for the Africa Women Cup of Nation qualifiers coming up and the tournament in 2022 which will be hosted in Morocco. “We just wanted to have an idea of where the players are at in terms of fitness. This is a big year for us after losing a year of football due to the Coronavirus pandemic” says Ellis.
In order to play in Morocco the team has to prepare thoroughly as there will now be 12 teams that will qualify in the Women’s AFCON tournament where the top four will qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand. The technical team is very impressed with what they saw from the players and they give credit to clubs for doing well with their pre-season training. Things can only get better from this point moving forward.
Due to some of the players having returned to action abroad in different leagues across Europe only locally based players attended the camp. “This camp really helped a lot to show us what we have locally. The players based overseas are playing regularly and they are doing well at a higher level – so our aim is to get as close as possible to that level and try to compete on an equal footing because the next camp we are likely going to have the overseas-based players back and so the mix has to be correct,” explained Ellis.
The upcoming FIFA calendar dates will be utilised to bring in the overseas-based players who haven’t been in the team for over a year mainly due to the corona virus pandemic.
“We know they have improved because of the regular training and games they are involved in, and that is good for us. If you look at the likes of Nigeria and Cameroon, they have all these experienced players abroad and when they come back they change the mentality and everything within the team, making everything better. So we are hoping for a similar experience. Remember, previously we have one or two overseas, now we have a whole lot of them overseas. Hopefully, they will take this team to a higher level and we need to use this year to catch up.” concluded Ellis.
Banyana Banyana squad in training camp:
1. Andile Dlamini ( Mamelodi Sundowns FC )
2. Kaylin Swart (JVW FC Johannesburg)
3. Mapaseka Mpuru (University of Pretoria Pretoria)
1. Bongeka Gamede (University of Western Cape)
2. Karabo Makhurubetshi (Mamelodi Sundowns FC )
3. Tiisetso Makhubela (Tshwane University of Technology)
4. Xiluva Tshabalala (Ma-Indies Polokwane)
5. Ongeziwe Ndlangisa (Sunflower FC)
1. Mamello Makhabane (JVW FC )
2. Nomvula Kgoale (Tshwane University of Technology)
3. Nonhlanhla Mthandi (Mamelodi Sundowns FC)
4. Ntombifikile Ndlovu(Sunflower FC )
6. Noxolo Cesane (University of Western Cape)
7. Robyn Moodaly (JVW FC Johannesburg)
1. Sibulele Holweni (University of Western Cape)
2. Gabriela Salgado (JVW FC Johannesburg)
3. Lonathemba Mhlongo (Durban Ladies FC)
4. Kgaelebane Mohlakoana (Bloemfontein Celtic FC)