Mkhonza's Banyana set sights on Cyprus Cup | SASCOC - SASCOC

Mkhonza’s Banyana set sights on Cyprus Cup

The Banyana Banyana national women’s soccer side has settled down well as the squad prepares for the annual 12-Nation Cyprus Women’s Cup from 6-13 March in Cyprus.

Head coach of the Sasol sponsored Banyana, Joseph Mkhonza is impressed by the showing of all of his players who have reported for camp and is the first to admit selecting the final 22 players will not be an easy task.

Mkhonza will be without the services of all three international based players in Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Kylie-Ann Louw and Roxanne Barker for the coming assignment.

Nyandeni has pulled out of the Banyana squad due to club commitments as her Russian club, Rossiyanka is preparing to take part in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Kylie and Roxanne who play their club football in the United States will not be joining the national squad due to study commitments.

Banyana Banyana will continue with their preparations at the North West University High Performance Centre in Potchefstroom before their departure for Cyprus on Monday.

While coach Mkhonza will have a tough time selecting his 22-player squad to compete in the Cyprus Cup, he will also be using this camp to look at younger players and groom the squad that will compete for the FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

Banyana Banyana will open their Group C campaign at the Cyprus Women’s Cup against South Korea on 6 March. Kick-off is at 2.30pm. The next group stage encounter to be played at the same match venue will be against the Republic of Ireland on 8 March while the final group stage encounter against Northern Ireland will be played on 11 February in Paralimi.

England, Italy, New Zealand and Scotland will play in Group A while Group B will contested by Canada, Finland, the Netherlands and Switzerland .

ÔÇ£I want to use the Cyprus Women’s Cup to bring in new players and prepare the country for future tournaments. The 22 players I will select will form the core of Banyana Banyana squad that will take part in the World Cup, the Olympics as well as the African Women’s Championship next year.

ÔÇ£Those that will not form part of the trip to Cyprus must not lose hope as my bigger aim is to create a bigger pool of this Banyana squad. That will put the team in good stead in case of injuries and suspensions,ÔÇØ said the Banyana mentor.

The 25-strong Banyana camp is made up of: Andile Dlamini, Lebogang Mabatle, Nothando Vilakazi, Jermaine Seoposenwe, Janine van Wyk, Zamandosi Cele, Nomathemba Ntsibande, Amanda Dlamini, Mary Ntsweng, Noko Matlou, Robyn Moodaly, Gabisile Hlumbane, Maite Makola, Refiloe Jane, Kaylin Swart, Andisiwe Mgcoyi, Nocawe Skiti, Memory Makhanya, Zanele Chiya, Mahlatsi Mogola, Regina Mogolola, Vuyo Mkhabela, Gloria Thato, Shiwe Nongwanya