Ellis buoyed by first Banyana session

The squad is in camp to prepare for a friendly against Egypt on Saturday at Dobsonville Stadium. Kick-off is at 15h00.

Ellis, who is being assisted by Maud Khumalo and Cheryl Botes, worked for two-and-a-half years as an assistant to former coach Vera Pauw, but it was her first experience as the woman in charge.

"I was a bit nervous but the players were looking forward to it and I was pleasantly surprised by the attitude, by the level of fitness because they were professional enough to continue with their training as we all know the 2016 African Women Cup of Nations is coming up, and that gave us a base to work from as the technical team," said Ellis.

She has made a few changes to the team but also kept some of those who went to the 2016 Rio Olympics, with Bontle Mashilo (TUT-Pretoria), Lebogang Rakhuduwe (TUT-Pretoria) and Astrid Boks (Santos FC) the only new comers into the squad.

"Basically, we tried to freshen the squad a bit. We looked at the Varsity Cup that has been going on, and some other tournaments, and we felt the need to bring the new players in," she added.

"As for the players that have been there before but did not go to Rio we also thought we should give them another opportunity and also assess how they have been doing. Unfortunately the overseas-based players are not available.

"But the door is definitely not closed to anyone – those who did not make it this time and still aspire to play for the national team they will get their chance."

The former Banyana Banyana captain admits her first match in charge will not be easy but they will do the best they can.

"We know it will not be easy against Egypt because they qualified for the 2016 Africa Women's Cup of Nations after beating Ivory Coast at home and lost 2-1 away - but went through on the away goal rule, so we can't take them lightly.

"We want to do well and get off on a positive start. The challenge in the past has been lack of goals and we are working to get it right hence we brought many attacking players. It is always good to start with a win, and hopefully we will achieve that."

Meanwhile, Amanda Dlamini and Legato Madiba have been withdrawn from the squad for the clash against Egypt.

Dlamini has been away on other commitments (she went to France with the DANONE under-12 squad and only returned on Tuesday, 18 October), while Madiba is out with an injury.

Amogelang Motau, captain of the South African under-20 Women's National Team, has been brought in as Dlamini's replacement, while Nomathemba Ntsibande has taken the place of Madiba.

Banyana Banyana Squad vs Egypt:

GK: Anndile Dlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns), Yolula Tsawe (JVW FC), Mapaseka Mpuru (HPC)

DEF: Nomathemba Ntsibande (Springs Home Sweepers), Nothando Vilakazi (Palace Super Falcons FC), Janine van Wyk (JVW FC), Noko Matlou (Maindis FC), Astrid Boks (Santos FC), Bambanani Mbane (Bloemfontein Celtic), Lebogang Mabatle (Tuks)

MIDMamello Makhabane (JVW FC), Amogelang Motau (UWC Ladies), Silindile Ngubane (Durban Ladies FC), Refiloe Jane (Mamelodi Sundowns), Nompumelelo Nyendeni (JVW FC), Bongiwe Thusi (Mamelodi Sundowns), Linda Motlhalo (JVW FC), Lebogang Rakhuduwe (TUT), Thembi Kgatlana (UWC Ladies) 

STR: Rhoda Mulaudzi (Mamelodi Sundowns),  Shiwe Nogwanya (Bloemfontein Celtic), Andisiwe Mcgoyi (Mamelodi Sundowns), Bontle Mashilo (TUT)