26 January 2019– Head coach of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana, Desiree Ellis, is elated that more and more South African players are making a move abroad, as this will definitely benefit the national team.

This comes after striker Ode Fulutudilu signed for Malaga in Spain, while midfielder Leandra Smeda was snapped up just recently by Swedish Damallsvenskan outfit Vittsjö GIK after spending some time in Lithuania.

Also based overseas is the duo of vice captain Refiloe Jane and Rhoda Mulaudzi (Australia) as well as Thembi Kgatlana and Linda Motlhalo (USA).

The likes of Amogelang Motau are still studying and playing football in the USA, while Kaylin Swart, Jermaine Seoposenwe and Kelso Peskin have returned home after completing their studies abroad.

Fulutudilu played in Finland before her move to Spain, having started with Ambassadors FC then moved on to Spurs WFC and finally ended up at Cape Town Roses in the Sasol League.

She was last in the Banyana Banyana squad last year when they played two matches against Chile in October last year – and she got a run in the second half of the second game.

“This is certainly good news for women’s football in South Africa to have players make a move abroad as this will most certainly benefit Banyana Banyana. If you look at nations like Nigeria and Cameroon, most of their players are abroad and that is why they consistenly qualify for big tournaments, and we should also do the same,” said Ellis.

“We are extremely proud that Ode has made a move to Spain, and Leandra to Sweden where they will have an even better opportunity to improve on their games. These are some of the good leagues for women’s football and we are confident they will do well. This is a bonus as this happens in the World Cup year, and we believe this will open doors for other players to be spotted.”

Her sentiments were echoed by the President of the South African Football Association (SAFA), Dr Danny Jordaan.

“It gives us great satisfaction that Banyana Banyana is represented around the world, and this recent phenomenon can only mean that as an Association we are doing something right with women’s football. And now that the team has qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, they will be playing on the biggest stage and this could lead to more players leaving these shores to ply their trade overseas,” said Dr Jordaan.

“Together with our sponsor Sasol, we have created opportunities for the players to showcase their talent against the top footballing nations in the world – we have played the USA, France, Netherlands, Brazil, Sweden, among others, and this helps with the growth of women’s football. Players signing for teams abroad is the results of all that hard work. Congratulations to them and we hope to see more following.”

Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Fulutudilu opted to play for the South African women’s national team.

Malaga are 13thon the Primera Division Femenina and just two points above the relegation zone.

They have 13 matches remaining in the current league campaign and will be hoping Fulutudilu comes to their rescue as she scored 15 goals in 23 matches in Finland.

Having missed out on the 2018 Women’s AFCON in Ghana, and the recent two friendly matches against Sweden and Netherlands in Cape Town, Fulutudilu will be hoping her move and good performance in Spain will help her secure a spot in the World Cup squad.

Banyana Banyana are currently on a break and will resume camp late next month when they start preparations for the Cyprus Women’s Cup, which takes place from 27 February to 6 March.