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Mkhonza’s mix & match
- Updated: August 15, 2011
Banyana Banyana coach Joseph Mkhonza will be looking to give as many of the national squad players as possible the chance to showcase their skills ahead of this month’s 2012 London Olympic Games qualifier against Ethiopia.
This will be when the South African senior women’s national team takes on Mozambique in an international friendly match at the Lucas ÔÇ£MasterpiecesÔÇØ Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville, in Tshwane on Saturday, 20 August. Kick-off is at 3pm.
There are new faces in the 32-strong Banyana Banyana squad that is currently in training at the North West University’s Institute for Sport in Potchefstroom, as Mkhonza looks to build on his team’s impressive campaign which has seen the South Africans win 10 of their 12 matches played in all competitions.
Talented midfielders Lebohang Mabotle who plays for Hallelujah Zebra Force, and Boitumelo Lobunghane of The Bold, were identified during the Sasol League Road Show held in Mogwase near Rustenburg in the North West Province in May this year, while High Performance Centre (Tshwane)-based defender Vuyo Mkhabela has also been called to the camp.
Other newcomers to the Banyana Banyana training set up include midfielders in Palesa Mohlabai (Hawks Ladies) and Lebohang Ramalepe (Brazilians), goalkeepers Sisipho Ntulo (Cape Town Roses) and Ntshetsana Mputle (Royal Queens) plus strikers Makhosazane Zulu (Durban Ladies) and Wendy Mdeketshewe (Dangerous Heroes).
HPC (Tshwane)-based goalkeeper Kaylin Swart, who represented South Africa at the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup tournament in the Caribbean last year is also in training with the national squad in Potchefstroom.
The outing against the Mozambicans will be a good opportunity for the new players to impress, before captain Amanda Dlamini, midfielder Mary Ntsweng, strikers Noko Matlou and Zanele Sukazi (in action this week at the World Student Games in Shenzhen, China), as well as Russia-based Nompumelelo Nyandeni and USA-based Kylie Ann Louw return to boost the national squad for the all-important Olympic qualifier first leg fixture against Ethiopia on Saturday, 27 August at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
Bloemfontein Celtics’ experienced midfielder Sanah Mollo, who was voted as Players’ Player of the Tournament’ at the Sasol League National Championships held in Bloemfontein in June, returns to the Banyana Banyana camp for the first time since suffering an injury during the national team’s bronze medal-winning performance at the 2010 CAF African Women Championship held in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng in November.
The Cape Town Roses pair of central defender Sbongiseni Khamlana and striker Leandra Smeda, as well as midfielder Nocawe Skiti have also been called back to the national team training camp. Khamlana is a possible contender to replace experienced defender Janine van Wyk, who will miss this month’s action due to suspension having collected two yellow cards in previous Olympic qualifier matches.
Midfielder Sisebo Mogatle (Luso Ladies) and striker Tina Selepe (Palace Super Falcons) who have previously been a part of the Banyana Banyana set up, also make a return.
ÔÇ£Since claiming the silver medal at the COSAFA Championships in Harare, Zimbabwe last month, the players have been training in their respective provinces in order to retain a high fitness level. This week’s national camp and the match against Mozambique this coming weekend are key platforms as far as building the team towards the forthcoming matches is concerned. We have called up a bigger pool of players than usual as we work towards a busy schedule ahead,ÔÇØ said Mkhonza.