Banyana will host the Swedes behind closed doors in a practice match on Thursday and in an official international friendly on Sunday (14h00). Entry is free.
The 2017 COSAFA champions had a full compliment of 26 players at their first training session – with only the Limpopo trio of Noko Matlou, Lebo Ramalepe and Rachel Sebati watching from the sidelines as they arrived late.
“I have said before, this is a defining year for Banyana Banyana and women’s football in general. We need to hit the ground running if we are to realise our objectives. And you have to take note that, even though we have given players training programmes to follow, we have just returned from the festive season and we haven’t had much activity as the leagues are closed,” said interim Banyana coach Desiree Ellis.
“But I have made clear to the players that we will not accommodate passengers because this is the year of hard work, sacrifice, dedication and commitment. We have two major competitions to qualify for – the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations as well as the 2019 FIFA World Cup. I have to admit though, what I saw at training makes me happy as it shows that most have been following their training programme and we just need to build on that. I am also glad that all the players are present on day one, as this makes our job so much easier.”
Gerald Don, who is a national executive committee member of the South African Football Association, as well as the president of SAFA Western Cape, welcomed Banyana to Cape Town.
“It is my pleasure to welcome you to this lovely city of ours, we are overly excited to be hosting you – more so because this is the first time Banyana Banyana play in Cape Town. This is a history making match, and a very special one because you are facing one of the top footballing nations in the women’s game,” said Don.
“We wish you all the best, and we know this is a very important year for Banyana Banyana as it is the year for AWCON and World Cup qualifications. We hope this game will go a long way in assisting you prepare for the challenges ahead. Once again, welcome to Cape Town and good luck on Sunday.”
Sweden are expected to land in the Mother City at 11h00 today. They will have their first training session in the evening in Somerset West.
They are ranked 10th in the world and fifth in Europe.
This is the third time the two nations meet.
Banyana Banyana squad to face Sweden:
|1. Andile DLAMINI||Mamelodi Sundowns FC||Johannesburg|
|2. Yolula TSAWE||JVW FC||Johannesburg|
|3. Kaylin SWART||Menlo College||USA|
|4. Nothando VILAKAZI||Palace Super Falcons FC||Johannesburg|
|5. Noko MATLOU||Ma –Indies FC||Polokwane|
|6. Janine VAN WYK||Houston Dash||USA|
|7. Bambanani MBANE||Bloemfontein Celtic||Bloemfontein|
|8. Lebohang RAMALEPE||Ma-Indies||Polokwane|
|9. Regina MOGOLOLA||University Pretoria||Pretoria|
|10. Zanele NHLAPO||Mamelodi Sundowns||Johannesburg|
|11. Yonelo KETO||Thunderbirds||Port Elizabeth|
|12. Leandra SMEDA||UWC Ladies||Cape Town|
|13. Refiloe JANE||TUT-PTA||Pretoria|
|14. Xolisile MNIKATHI||Sunflower FC||KwaZulu Natal|
|15. Kholosa BIYANA||UKZN||KwaZulu Natal|
|16. Kgaelebane MOHLAKOANA||Bloemfontein Celtic||Bloemfontein|
|17. Amogelang MOTAU||Oral Roberts University||USA|
|18. Rachel SEBATI||TUT–PTA||Pretoria|
|19. Neliswa LUTHULI||Sunflower FC||KwaZulu Natal|
|20. Nompumelelo NYANDENI||JVW FC||Johannesburg|
|21. Melinda KGADIETE||Bloemfontein Celtic||Bloemfontein|
|22. Thembi KGATLANA||UWC Ladies||Cape Town|
|23. Kelso PESKIN||Lamar University / UWC Ladies FC||USA /Cape Town|
|24. Jermaine SEOPOSENWE||Samford University||USA|
|25. Chantelle ESAU||Mamelodi Sundowns||Johannesburg|
|26. Sduduzo DLAMINI||Sunflower FC||KwaZulu Natal|