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Ellis to test players against Sweden ahead of WC

South Africa take on Sweden on Tuesday night in Cape Town in the Albertina Sisulu Centenary Challenge.

Members of the Banyana Banyana team pictured before their match against the Netherlands.Picture: @Banyana_Banyana/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis said that she will be giving players the opportunity to showcase their talent at international level as she looks to whittle her squad down to a group of core players ahead of the World Cup in France later this year.

South Africa take on Sweden on Tuesday night in Cape Town in the Albertina Sisulu Centenary Challenge.

She picked a full-strength outfit for their friendly over the weekend against the Netherlands which they lost 2-1 but put in a good performance.

Ellis explained her thinking regarding selection ahead of the Sweden match.

"I think we made a lot of big steps in the game against the Netherlands if you compare our performance against Sweden last year.

"We are looking at making changes because how else are we going to test players? With the opportunity of making at least six substitutes, it does help us when we want to test some players.

"We're also looking at giving players an opportunity because this is the time. You can actually have a look at players and if you don't test them, how are you going to know if they able to play this level?"

Banyana took on Sweden last year and lost 3-0 at the same venue. The match will be seen as chance to gauge Banyana’s development and growth over the last 12 months.

With their inaugural World Cup campaign only months away, Ellis believes this is the only time she can experiment and decide if some players are up to standard for their biggest tournament of their careers.

"You don't know what's going to happen at the World Cup. You could have three or four injuries and you haven’t given those players an opportunity and you expect them to step up. This is the opportunity to test them because this is the level you're going to play that the World Cup.

"We want to utilise the whole squad over the next month or so because after February/March at the Cyprus Cup is no time for experiments. You got to have your core group and then work with a cool group."

South Africa’s World Cup preparation will accelerate as they look ahead to the Cyprus Cup while just before France, they’ll take on the United States in a friendly.

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