25 July 2023 – The South African senior women’s team kicked off their FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament against Sweden on Sunday (23 July 2023) and while others got a chance to experience the showpiece for the first time, there were several players from coach Desiree Ellis’ 23-member squad who are making their second return to the tournament.
The Sasol-sponsored side made their official debut back in 2019 when the tournament was held in France and this year’ event marks the team’s successive appearance at this level.
The players who were part of coach Desiree Elli’s squad back in 2019.
Ten players out of the 14 (Swart, Ramalepe, Mbane, Gamede, Holweni, Jane , Biyana , Motlhalo, Seoposenwe, Kgatlana) all started against Sweden on Sunday afternoon.
The team will travel to Dunedin on Thursday before taking on Argentina on Friday afternoon (02:00am RSA time) for their second Group G encounter with hopes of collecting maximum points to put themselves in a strong position to make it past the group stages. The team will wrap up their final group game against Italy on 2 August 2023.
Speaking after a difficult loss to Sweden, Banyana Banyana coach Ellis was happy with the way her players executed the game plan and she further explained the thought process behind the selection of her starting lineup.
“We knew that we are a team that also plays from the back and we needed players that were good on the ball and also defensively good,” said the coach. “We knew that if we were in trouble, Kaylin would kick us out of trouble. She did this on many occasions and that is why we made those changes. As I said, we have been training with those changes for a long time just to make sure everyone understands the game plan. We had cover in every position and who would come on if we needed to change the system.”