11 September 2017 – The South African Senior Women’s National Team has safely arrived in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe after a one hour 20 minute flight, which they shared with the Madagascar Women’s National Team.
The two nations are in the country to compete in the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship that will take place from 13 – 24 September.
The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana squad flew out of South Africa this morning at 06h00 (Monday, 11 September).
Desiree Ellis’ charges are in Group C with Namibia, Lesotho and Botswana.
The South Africans, who have been in camp since Tuesday, 5 September will open their account in this year’s edition with a clash against Lesotho on Thursday (14 September).
“Camp went very well, we had a couple of very good sessions. Not playing a game is a bit of a setback but we had a practice match against boys from the School of Excellence and it was a good exercise as it showed us a couple of things that we still need to work on, and we will fix those before we face Lesotho,” said Ellis, the Banyana Banyana interim head coach.
“The good thing is that the bulk of the team is made up of players who have been in the squad before so it’s a continuation. We also have a few who have just returned from the World Student Games in Taipei, and they are looking much more stronger and energized, which augurs well for us in the tournament.”
Ellis says the tricky part is playing three games in four days, which might be heavy for the players as it will be energy sapping more so because of the hot conditions in Zimbabwe. But they have a solid plan, more so because the first game is very crucial.
“We have to manage our players because the first two games are back to back, with the next one only two days later – so we have planned it very well to plan very well to make sure we keep the players fresh and energized and be ready for the entire tournament, not just the opening matches,” added Ellis.
“Our first game is key, so we have to start off on a good note because it gives you momentum when you start with a win. We would like to score lots of goals as it gives confidence to the players, to the goal scorers and the whole team. We are very prepared for it because that is the most important game for us at this moment.”
In the absence of regular captain Janine van Wyk, vice captain Refiloe Jane will wear the armband for the tournament.
“There’s no doubt about Refiloe Jane, she also has the experience of captaining the World Student team for two back to back editions – 2015 and 2017 – and already in camp she is leading by example, just by her actions on the field and the way she carries herself. I believe, without a doubt, she is ready to lead to the team and she wants to win this tournament badly.”
South Africa and Lesotho meet at the Luveve Stadium.
The second match against Namibia the next day will be played at Barbourfields Stadium.
Banyana Banyana and Botswana will lock horns in the last group stages fixture on Sunday, 17 September, also at Barbourfields Stadium.
The top team in each pool advances to the semifinals as well as the best-placed runner-up.
The South Africans will have their first training session in the afternoon.
GROUP A – Zimbabwe, Zambia, Madagascar, Malawi
GROUP B – Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Swaziland
GROUP C – South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana
Banyana Banyana 2017 COSAFA FIXTURES:
September 14 (Luveve Stadium)
10h30 Mauritius vs Swaziland
14h00 Kenya vs Mozambique
16h30 South Africa vs Lesotho
September 15 (Barbourfields Stadium)
10h30 Madagascar vs Malawi
14h00 South Africa vs Namibia
16h30 Zimbabwe vs Zambia
September 17 (Barbourfields Stadium)
10h30 Zambia vs Madagascar
14h00 Zimbabwe vs Malawi
16h30 South Africa vs Botswana
September 21 (Barbourfields Stadium)
13h00 Winner Group A vs Winner Group C
15h00 Winner Group B vs Best Runner-Up
September 23 (Barbourfields Stadium)
13h00 Loser Semifinal 1 vs Loser Semifinal 2
September 24 (Barbourfields Stadium)
15h00 Winner Semifinal 1 vs Winner Semifinal 2
BANYANA BANYANA SQUAD FOR 2017 COSAFA:
- Andile DLAMINI Mamelodi Sundowns
- Yolula TSAWE JVW FC
- Roxanne BARKER Cape Town Roses
- Nothando VILAKAZI Palace Super Falcons
- Koketso TLAILANE TUT-PTA
- Noko MATLOU Ma-Indies FC
- Bambanani NOLUFEFE Bloemfontein Celtic
- Lebo RAMALEPE Ma-Indies FC
- Regina MOGOLOLA University of Pretoria
- Zanele NHLAPO Mamelodi Sundowns
- Nompumelelo NYANDENI JVW FC
- Leandra SMEDA UWC LADIES
- Refiloe JANE TUT-PTA
- Rachel SEBATI TUT-PTA
- Kholosa BIYANA UKZN
- Nkoikoi MABINA Kanatla Ladies
- Thembi KGATLANA UWC Ladies
- Rhoda MULAUDZI Mamelodi Sundowns
- Chantelle ESAU Mamelodi Sundowns
- Nwabisa KOLISI City Lads