12 July 2019 – Three Banyana Banyana players will be playing UEFA Women’s Champions League football this season.

The trio is forward Rhoda Mulaudzi, who has just signed for Apollon Ladies FC from Cyprus, as well as Jermaine Seoposenwe and Nothando Vilakazi who are on the books of Lithuania-based Gintra Universitetas.

“This is just great news. We have always said that we need players that will consistently play at the high level so we can be able to compete with the top footballing nations when we get to a competition like the World Cup,” said Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis.

“I would like to congratulate Rhoda on her move to Cyprus as this augurs well for the national team – the more players we have abroad the better for Banyana Banyana. This now brings to seven regular Banyana Banyana players playing abroad – Leandra (Sweden), Ode (Spain), Linda and Thembi (both China) as well as Nothando and Jermaine (both Lithuania) – also not forgetting the likes of Amo (Amogelang Motau) and Nomvula Kgoale (both USA).

Mulaudzi, Seoposenwe and Vilakazi will start UEFA Women’s Champions League action in August.

Apollon Ladies FC has been drawn in Group 7alongside Braga FC (Portugal), Rigas FS (Latvia) and Sturm Graz (Australia).

Gintra Universitetas is in Group 6 and will face KF Vilaznia (Albania), Wexford Youths Women FC (Ireland) and Birkirkara FC (Malta).

A record 62 teams from 50 different associations will enter the 2019/20 UEFA Women’s Champions League – 40 of them started the competition in the 21 June qualifying round draw.

Road to Vienna:

  • Holders Lyon, the top two clubs from the ten highest-ranked countries (a list which also includes Lyon) and thechampions of the 11th and 12th-ranked nations (Scotland and Austria) in accordance with the association coefficient rankings receive byes to the round of 32
  • The other 40 entrants (the Scottish and Austrian runners-up, and the champions of the remaining 38 associations) must compete in the qualifying round from 7 to 13 August for 10 spots alongside those 22 sides already in the knockout phase
  • Ten clubs have also been designated as hosts:Gintra Universitetas,FC Twente, SFK 2000 Sarajevo,Kharkiv, Pomurje Beltinci, Anderlecht, Slovan Bratislava, Breznica Pljevlja, Flora Tallinn and Rīgas Futbola skola. They were drawn first from a separate pot and placed in their group according to their seeding position
  • The ten qualifying group winners proceed to the 16 August draw for the round of 32, with the two-legged knockout phase commencing in September.

The contenders:

  • Debutants in round of 32: Piteå, Lugano, Chertanovo
  • Debutants in qualifying round: Braga,ŽNK Split, Beşiktaş, Flora Tallinn, FC Nike,Alashkert(the first Armenian entrants since College Yerevan in the inaugural 2001/02 edition)
  • Holders Lyon became the first team to win both six titles and four in a row last season
  • Other past champions involved are Wolfsburg and, for the first time since 2012/13, ArsenalBarcelona, Fortuna Hjørring and Paris Saint-Germain are previous finalists.

Tournament calendar:

  • Qualifying round: 7, 10 & 13 August 2019
  • Round of 32 draw: 16 August 2019, Nyon
  • Round of 32: 11/12 & 25/26 September 2019
  • Round of 16 draw: 30 September 2019, Nyon
  • Round of 16: 16/17 & 30/31 October 2019
  • Quarter-final & semi-final draw: 8 November 2019, Nyon
  • Quarter-finals: 24/25 March & 1/2 April 2020
  • Semi-finals: 25/26 April & 2/3 May 2020
  • Final (Viola Park, Vienna): 24 May 2020