5 June 2023 – Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has announced a preliminary 36-member squad for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The SASOL-sponsored South African senior women’s national team will go into camp in Johannesburg on 12 June 2023 and all the players have a chance to impress the coach before the final list for the global tournament is announced later this month.
Ellis told www.www.safa.net that selecting the preliminary squad was one of the most difficult tasks she has ever had to do as the South African senior women’s national team coach.
“It’s most probably one of the most difficult selections I’ve ever had to make,” the Banyana Banyana coach told www.www.safa.net .”As a coach you always say players must raise their hand and make it difficult. And it has been very difficult (selecting the preliminary squad). Congratulations to the players that have made the preliminary squad. We are always saying players must raise their hands, and many of them have raised the hands. But this is the group of players that we think we can select from, and they have raised their hands. We are going to do a final selection as well as announce the final 23 plus three. That is even going to be more difficult, but this is the group of players that we think will do the job for us.”
Banyana Banyana’s highest capped player, Janine van Wyk, was part of Ellis’ plans for the preliminary squad but was eventually withdrawn from the list due to injury.
The Alberton-born defender, who has over 180 appearances, thanked the Banyana Banyana coach for considering her and confirmed that she sustained an injury.
“I have sustained an injury that I personally feel would impact my chances of performing at the highest level that is required to make the World Cup squad. I have to turn down the call-up with a heavy heart, but also knowing that I am doing what is best for the team,” she said.
“Congratulations to the preliminary squad selected to represent South Africa at the upcoming World Cup. The ball is now in the courts of these talented players to put their best foot forward to be selected to the final squad,” said Nozipho Mbatha, Sasol Senior Manager: Group Brand and Sponsorship, on the preliminary squad announcement.
“We have seen how hard they have fought to remain at the top of their game in the local league matches. Our overseas-based players also continued to work hard to profile themselves and ensure they remained within the radar of Coach Desiree and her technical team. We wish all these players the best of luck with the final preparations knowing that they all have an equal chance to be a part of the final 23 strong women.”