7 June 2019 – Banyana Banyana will make history when they play their first match in a FIFA World Cup.
The South Africans face Spain their opening match of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The clash takes place tomorrow (Saturday, 7 June) at Stade Océane in Le Havre.
Kickoff is at 18h00.
Banyana Banyana has only one uncapped player – goalkeeper Mapaseka Mpuru.
There are six players who have made ten or less appearances each for South Africa – Tiisetso Makhubela (2), Karabo Dhlamini (5), Sibulele Holweni (2) and Amanda Mthandi (10), Bongeka Gamede (1), Mpuru (0).
Dhlamini and Holweni will be going to their second World Cup tournament in less than a year – they were part of the U17 Women’s National Team (Bantwana) that competed at the 2018 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay.
The duo makes up four members of the current squad who have world cup experience – with goalkeeper Kaylin Swart and forward Jermaine Seoposenwe having played in the same tournament in Trinidad and Tobago in 2010 as part of the U17 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
There are four players with over 100 caps – captain Janine van Wyk (166), Noko Matlou (152), Nothando Vilakazi (129) and vice captain Refiloe Jane (104).
Banyana Banyana have won several COSAFA Cup tournaments, played in almost every Women’s AFCON showpiece, and been to two Olympic Games – London 2012 and Rio 2016 – but never before have they played at this level of the World Cup.
Janine van Wyk will be the first player ever to captain a Banyana Banyana side at a world cup, while Desiree Ellis is the first coach qualify and lead the South African Senior Women’s National Team at the world soccer showpiece.
“We have waited a very long time for this, and now is our moment to shine. We will be playing for all those players who came and went in the Banyana Banyana squad, the very same players and coaches that laid the foundation for us to be where we are today – we owe a lot to them,” said an emotional Desiree Ellis, head coach of Banyana Banyana, and former captain of the squad.
“We came very close to qualifying in 2014 in Namibia, but we fell at the last hurdle and the pain was there for all to see. There was no dry tear on that day – but today it feels good to be in this position where I feel we belong. This is a very emotional but at the same time very exciting for all of us who will take part in the tournament. We will go out there and put our bodies on the line just to show how much South African, and in fact African football has developed in recent years. We are really looking forward to our first participation at this greatest event in women’s football.”
Also making their debut in France is Chile, Jamaica and Scotland.
Italy returns to the tournament for the first time since 1999, while Argentina hasn’t qualified since 2007 and be will present in this year’s edition.
Brazil, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Norway, Sweden, and the United States qualified for their eighth World Cup, continuing their streak of qualifying for every World Cup held so far.
Twenty-four nations have gathered around France to try and wrestle the trophy from the defending champions, the USA.
Five hundred and 22 players (23 players per country) have been registered for the tournament.
The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be the 18thedition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and will take place from 7 June to 7 July 2019.
This will be the first time France host the event, and the third time a European nation will do so.
It will also be the first time the video assistant referee (VAR) system is used in a FIFA Women’s World Cup.
South Africa qualified for the tournament when they defeated Mali in the semi-finals of the 2018 Women’s AFCON held in Ghana.
In their journey to prepare for France, they played 9 matches – vs Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland twice, the Czech Republic, Korea DPR, Jamaica, world champions USA and more recently Norway.
This will be their first ever meeting against Spain, who are ranked 12thin the world while South Africa is in position 48.
The Europeans will be making their second appearance having been knocked out in the group stages four years ago.
“Spain is a powerhouse of world football, despite the fact that this is only their second FIFA Women’s World Cup. We know what we are up against, and we have done everything possible in our power to be ready for this all-important clash,” added Ellis.
“At this level every team is dangerous because more often than not you get only once chance and that could be the difference between winning and losing. The players want this, they want to showcase their talent to the world. And what makes this match crucial is that it is our guide to how the tournament will be like. We are aware that any result other than a win will set us back as we will have to play catch-up all the way. In any tournament, you want to be in control of your destiny, not depend on others.”
Banyana Banyana travel to Paris on Sunday, for their next assignment against China PR, which will take place 13 June.
The final group stages match will be against Germany on 17 June in Montpellier
GROUP B DRAW:
Spain vs South Africa
Saturday, 08 June 2019
South Africavs China PR
Thursday, 13 Jun 2019
Parc des Princes
South Africavs Germany
Monday, 17 Jun 2019
Stade de la Mosson
BANYANA BANYANA SQUAD FOR THE 2019 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP
|16. Andile Dlamini (1992)||Mamelodi Sundowns FC||Johannesburg|
|20. Kaylin Swart (1994)||Golden Stars FC||Port Elizabeth|
|1. Mapaseka Mpuru (1998)||University of Pretoria||Pretoria|
|2. Lebohang Ester Ramalepe (1991)||Ma-Indies FC||Polokwane|
|3. Nothando Vilakazi (1988)||FK Gintra Universita||Lithuania|
|4. Noko Alice Matlou (1985)||Ma –Indies FC||Polokwane|
|5. Janine Van Wyk (1987)||JVW FC||Johannesburg|
|13. Bambanani Nolufefe Mbane (1990)||Bloemfontein Celtic||Bloemfontein|
|23. Bongeka Gamede (1999)||University of Western Cape||Cape Town|
|14. Tiisetso Makhubela (1997)||Mamelodi Sundowns FC||Johannesburg|
|15. Refiloe Jane (1992)||Unattached||Johannesburg|
|6. Mamello Makhabane (1988)||JVW FC||Johannesburg|
|7. Karabo Dhlamini (2001)||Mamelodi Sundowns FC||Johannesburg|
|17. Leandra Smeda (1989)||Vittsjo GIK||Sweden|
|19. Kholosa Biyana (1994)||University of KwaZulu Natal||Durban|
|18. Busisiwe Ndimeni (1991)||University of Pretoria||Pretoria|
|21. Sibulele Holweni (2001)||Sophakama Ladies/HPC||Port Elizabeth|
|10. Linda Motlhalo (1998)||Beijing BG Phoenix FC||China|
|22. Rhoda Mulaudzi (1989)||Unattached||Johannesburg|
|11. Thembi Kgatlana (1996)||Beijing BG Phoenix FC||China|
|12. Jermaine Seoposenwe (1993)||FK Gintra Universita||Lithuania|
|9. Amanda Mthandi (1996)||University of Johannesburg||Johannesburg|
|8. Ode Fulutudilu (1990)||Malaga FC||Spain|