Banyana Banyana head coach Joseph Mkhonza will take a locally-based South African national senior team to the CAF African Women Championship 2012 in Equatorial Guinea from October 28 to November 11.
Despite the absence of the USA-based pair of goalkeeper Roxanne Barker and Kylie Ann Louw (study commitments) and experienced Russian-based midfielder Nompumelelo Nyandeni (club commitments), the 'local is lekker' Banyana Banyana team have vowed to do their country proud in the heat of action in the cities of Malabo and Bata.
Nyandeni's absence allows for Durban Ladies (Sasol League KwaZulu Natal) defender Charlotte Mshengu to take the final spot among the 18 players to travel for next week's national camp in Yaoundé, Cameroon, before the national team heads to Malabo on 25 October 2012.
Mshengu impressed the national team coaches during the first week of the national training camp in Johannesburg and holds great versatility in being able to play in any of the defensive positions.
"Losing a player of Nyandeni's talent and experience will always be a setback to any team, but the spirit among the players in camp is high and we remain focused on our objective of improving on our world ranking of 56th and African ranking of 4th, at the tournament," said Mkhonza.
"The players have been hard at training at the national camp since the start of October, and Safa and Sasol must be thanked for allowing the ladies to stay in camp for this length of time to prepare thoroughly for the tournament in Equatorial Guinea."
After beating Zimbabwe 1-0 in an international friendly encounter at the Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday, the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana will take on the Zimbabweans, at the Sinaba Stadium, Daveyton on Tuesday, 16 October 2012 (15h00 kick-off).
Banyana Banyana have been drawn in Group A at the CAF African Women Championship 2012 and will face hosts Equatorial Guinea in Malabo on October 28, Senegal in Malabo on October 31, before travelling to Bata for their encounter with DR Congo on November 3.
Successful group stage results will see the South Africans play in the semi-finals in either Malabo or Bata on November 7, with the 3rd/4th place playoff and the title decider both scheduled for Malabo on November 11.
Banyana Banyana are expected to leave for Cameroon on Friday, 19 October 2012.