Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis has named a strong 23-woman squad to take part in the Cyprus Cup starting 26 February.

Ellis has essentially selected the same squad which played Netherlands and Sweden in the international friendlies in Cape Town last month minus three players. She left out goalkeeper Jessica Williams, midfielder Hildah Magaia and striker Kelso Peskin.

The Cyprus Cup will be played from February 26 to March 6. Banyana are in Group A with Finland, Czech Republic and Korea DPR.

Coach Ellis said the squad she selected is very close to her World Cup squad.

“The battle for places in the final squad for the World Cup is becoming tighter and tighter as we get closer to the tournament. And I have said before that starting with the Cyprus Cup, we will be travelling with only 23 players, which is the number that we will take to France as per regulations.

“But make no mistake, this is by no means the World Cup squad, even though it is very close to what we will select – the tournament kicks off in June and anything can happen. So this is a wake-up call to whoever is not in the squad because the door is never closed to anyone until the announcement of the final squad, but also bear in mind that you don’t want to make too many changes so close to the competition unless there is still some exceptional talent out there that we haven’t selected.” Ellis told Safa website.

“Recently we played the Netherlands and Sweden, and now we are gearing up for Finland, the Czech Republic and Korea DPR at the Cyprus Women’s Cup – what better way to prepare for the World Cup as all these teams, even though some are similar, have contrasting styles of play, and that is just what we need ahead of such a big tournament,” added Ellis.

GOALKEEPERS
1. ANDILEDLAMINI – Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies, JOHANNESBURG
2. KAYLIN SWART – Awaiting International Transfer, PORT ELIZABETH
3. VICTORIA MUROA –  First Touch Academy, POLOKWANE

DEFENDERS:
4. LEBOGANG RAMAMALEPE – Ma-Indies FC, POLOKWANE
5. NOTHANDO VILAKAZI – Palace Super Falcons, JOHANNESBURG
6. JANINE VAN WYK (C) – Awaiting International,JOHANNESBURG
7. NOKO MATLOU – Ma-Indies FC, POLOKWANE
8. BAMBANANI MBANE – Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies, BLOEMFONTEIN
9. TIISETSO MAKHUBELA – Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies, JOHANNESBURG
10. KOKETSO TLAILANE – TUT-PTA, PRETORIA
11. KARABO DHLAMINI – Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies, JOHANNESBURG

MIDFIELDERS:
12. MAMELLO MAKHABANE – JVW FC, JOHANNESBURG
13. LEANDRA SMEDA – Vittsjo GIK, SWEDEN
14. NOMPUMELELO NYANDENI – JVW FC, JOHANNESBURG
15. LINDA MOTLHALO – Houston Dash, USA
16. BUSISIWE NDIMENI – TUT-PTA, PRETORIA
17. REFILOE JANE (VC) – Canberra United, AUSTRALIA
18. MOLATELO SEBATA – First Touch Academy, POLOKWANE
19. KHOLOSA BIYANA – University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN), DURBAN

FORWARDS
20. JERMAINE SEOPOSENWE – JVW FC, JOHANNESBURG
21. THEMBI KGATLANA – Houston Dash, USA
22. AMANDA MTHANDI – University of Johannesburg (UJ), JOHANNESBURG
23. RHODA MULAUDZI – Canberra United, AUSTRALIA

Written by: Diski Voice