Safa firmly behind Banyana Banyana
9 February 2012
Banyana Banyana will aim to build on a very successful 2011 when they compete against South American opposition in Brazil, en route to the 12-nation Cyprus Women's Cup tournament at the end of this month.
The South African Football Association (Safa) is firmly behind them said Acting Safa President Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana in a statement on Thursday: "Just like we did to Bafana Bafana in the lead up to the 2010, we as Safa are going to go out of our way to make sure we give our girls all the support they need."
He continued: "In line with our transformation agenda and in keeping with the spirit of the national government's agenda to affirm women, we want to treat our senior women's national soccer team the same way we did to Bafana Bafana ahead of the 2010 World Cup.
"I also want to take this opportunity to wish head coach Joseph Mkhonza, captain Amanda Dlamini and the entire team all the best during their training camp in Brazil and the 12-Nation Cup in Cyprus."
Nonkonyana added: "We would also like to commend the only woman on the National Executive Committee of Safa, Nomsa Mahlangu, who is also the chairperson for the Women's Football Committee, and her committee for having overseen the administration of women's football and producing the only South African soccer team to represent the country at the London Olympics.
The 22 players of the senior women's national team leave for Rio de Janeiro later this week.
Last year they won 12 times in 18 matches, drew twice and lost four times. They scored 36 goals and conceded 15. They also secured a place as one of two African representatives, the other being Cameroon, at the London Olympics.
"Banyana Banyana may be ranked 66th in the world, but the playing fields are level when the whistle to signify match day kick off is blown," said national coach Joseph Mkhonza.
The coach was referring to the fact that his team will compete at the Cyprus Women's Cup from 28 February to 6 March, in a group in which the remaining three teams are all ranked higher than South Africa : South Korea (16th in world), New Zealand (24th) and Northern Ireland (64th).
Experienced midfielders in Russian-based Nompumelelo Nyandeni and USA-based Kylie Ann Louw will link up with their Banyana Banyana team-mates in Cyprus, which means that two members of the squad that visits South America will return home after the visit to Brazil.
In needing to register three goalkeepers for the Olympics, Mkhonza has opted to include former Durban Ladies net-minder Roxanne Barker, who is currently a student at Pepperdine University in the USA, along with the incumbent, Thoko Mndaweni. The third goalkeeper in the team is North West-based Mputle Ntshatsana.
During the South American tour, the coach is expected to take a closer look at talented midfield anchor Gabisile Hlumbane in the left-back defender role. The Kovsies FC player is comfortable using either foot and has done duty for Banyana Banyana in both full back defensive positions as well as in midfield.
The middle of the field should be solidified with the return of Janine van Wyk to the Banyana fold after two month's on the sidelines. Her centre back combination with Port Elizabeth-based Amanda Sister has been one of the success stories of Banyana Banyana teams in recent times.
BANYANA BANYANA SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Thoko Mndaweni, Roxanne Barker, Mputle Ntshatsana
Defenders: Gabisile Hlumbane, Janine van Wyk, Refiloe Jane, Amanda Sister, Zamantosi Cele, Simphiwe Masina, Nothando Vilakazi
Midfielders: Mary Ntsweng, Memory Makhanya, Nomathemba Ntsibande, Morifi Chuene, Nondyebo Mgudu, Nocawe Skiti
Strikers: Sanah Mollo, Noko Matlou, Leandra Smeda, Zanele Sukazi, Amanda Dlamini (captain), Andiswe Mgcoyi
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