Banyana name strong Women’s Afcon squad

Banyana Banyana are in Group B and open their tournament account against defending champions Nigeria on 18 November.

FILE: Desiree Ellis (with the ball) during a Banyana Banyana training session. Picture: Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis has named a strong 21 player squad to compete in the Women’s African Cup of Nations tournament in Ghana starting on 17 November.

Banyana are in Group B and open their tournament account against defending champions Nigeria on 18 November.

Janine van Wyk who notched up 150 caps at the Cosafa Cup triumph in Port Elizabeth earlier this year will continue to lead the side in South Africa’s 12th appearance at the Women’s continental showpiece.

There are two new faces in the National Women’s squad, Amanda Mthandi and Tiisetso Makhubela will get their first taste of national team football in Ghana.

Star midfielders, Refiloe Jane and Linda Motlalo will look to steer Banyana to a first-ever Women’s Afcon title and secure a World Cup spot in France in June 2019.

The top three teams from the Women’s Afcon will qualify for the Women’s World Cup and van Wyk is brimming with confidence that the back to back Cosafa champions will qualify for the global event next year.

“We are confident that we will book our spot in France next year. This Afcon presents a great opportunity for us to go to a first-ever World Cup but we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves. We must just focus on the first game which is Nigeria, the defending champions.”

The most notable omission from the Banyana squad is Canberra United attacker Rhoda Mulaudzi who has been in fine form for her Australian Club.

Banyana depart for the capital of Ghana, Accra, on Friday and play the hosts in a friendly match on 11 November in preparation for their Afcon campaign.