13 October 2017

South Africa: Banyana Face Burkina Faso for First Time

The Banyana Banyana national women's side will take on Burkina Faso in an international friendly match next Sunday.

The clash will take place at Dobsonville Stadium, Soweto with kick-off scheduled for 3pm.

This will be Banyana Banyana's first match since lifting the 2017 COSAFA Women's Championship played in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe last month.

It's also the first time they've faced Burkina Faso and Banyana interim coach Desiree Ellis is excited at the opportunity.

'We're more than happy that we have a match so we can keep the momentum going. We would like to thank SAFA and Sasol for making sure the players are active, not just at their clubs but also at international level. It's vitally important that, where possible, we utilise FIFA dates because the more games we play the better we become and when the qualifiers come, we are ready.'

'We have never faced Burkina Faso before so we can learn what they are about. We've played several West African countries before so we have an idea of what style they could play, but any game to help us improve is always welcome.'

Ellis has selected a squad of 25 for the Burkina Faso clash. She's kept the bulk of the team that won the COSAFA Cup, leaving out only two players - Nkoikoi Mabina and Nwabisa Kolisi.

The squad also welcomes the return of captain Janine van Wyk who has been plying her trade with the Houston Dash in the US, and striker Andisiwe Mgcoyi who was playing her club football in Germany. Also back in the team are Thato Letsoso (UJ University), Chuene Morifi (Mamelodi Sundowns), Letago Madiba and Bontle Mashilo (both TUT-PTA) as well as Lucinda Croy from Santos in Cape Town.

Letsoso, Croy, Mashigo and Madiba were on standby for the COSAFA CUP.

'It was important not to break the continuity because we built a solid team when we played in Zimbabwe, and we also felt that we had to reward especially those players that did well at the tournament - if it ain't broken, why fix it? We have again not considered the U20 players as they have a World Cup qualifier coming up, so we didn't want to disturb their progress,' added Ellis.

'This was also a good opportunity for us to be able to have a look at Andisiwe who has recovered from injury, Chuene who was not available due to work commitments and Janine who has just returned fro the US. With the short time between COSAFA and this FIFA date there wasn't a lot of time to bring in new players for assessment, but we keep on monitoring those who are raising their hands at club level.'

As this is the first match for Banyana Banyana, Ellis has called on the fans to come in numbers to support the team.

'It's good to be back and to be playing at home again - so we call on all South Africans to and show your love for Banyana Banyana. We have always had good crowds and we are confident you will continue with your valued support,' concluded Ellis.

Banyana Banyana assemble for camp in Johannesburg on Monday.

The Banyana squad:

Goalkeepers: Andile Dlamini, Yolula Tsawe, Roxanne Barker

Defenders: Nothando Vilakazi, That Letsoso, Noko Matlou, Janine van Wyk, Bambanani Mbane, Lebohang Ramalefe, Regina Mogolola, Zanele Nhlapo

Midfielders: Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Leandra Smeda, Refiloe Jane, Rachel Sebati, Kholosa Biyana, Chuene Morifi, Thembi Kgatlana, Koketso Tlailane

Forwards: Rhoda Mulaudzi, Chantelle Esau, Andisiwe Mgcoyi, Letago Madiba, Bontle Mashilo, Lucinda Croy

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