By Sizakele Nkosi
The South Africa women’s football team has returned to camp in preparations for their important Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualifiers.
Coach Vera Pauw has announced her list of 24 players to face Equatorial Guinea on the third of October at Makhulong stadium in Tembisa.
In her squad, Pauw has welcomed the return of their US based players such as Stamford University forward Jermain Seoposenwe and Tyler Junior College’s Kelso Peskin. Other players who have returned to the squad either from injuries or club commitment are Shiwe Nogwanya, Thembi Kgatlana and Iceland based goalkeeper Roxanne Barker.
Banyana did not qualify for semi-finals at the All-Africa Games due to ‘draw of lots’ thus having left the AAG crest-fallen, Vera’s charges will have to leave that disappointment behind and prepare to take on the “Nzalang Nacional” in what will be a crucial encounter
Pauw said “Those games helped us a great deal with our preparations for Equatorial Guinea. We were able to develop our game to the capacity where were to control matters. We also do not give the ball away easily any more. We were able to spend more time together as a team and after one week’s rest we are back in camp to continue with our preparations.”
She buttressed that teams have changed their playing styles, one she is ready to match
“These qualifying games will be crucial for the future of women’s football in Africa. All the teams we played last year have changed their playing system and developed their team organisation. It shows that, although we had not qualified, we made an impact on the development of the game on the continent. The knowledge of the game has improved”
“But now is the time for us to qualify. We have had great programs. We can do it! We are more convinced than ever before. Qualification will change the lives of many girls in future but we are not naive, as we know the strength of Equatorial Guinea. It will not be an easy match, but with the support of the people of Tembisa and South Africans in general we can do it,” Pauw adds, from a released South Africa Football Association (SAFA) press statement.
Ranked third in Africa, Equatorial Guinea will not be a walk in the park as they beat Africa’s number 1 – Nigeria – in Olympics qualifiers, to book a date with the Banyana Banyana.
The second leg will be played on the weekend of 17th /18th of October in Equatorial Guinea
BANYANA BANYANA SQUAD TO FACE EQUATORIAL GUINEA
1. ROXANNE BARKER Thor/KA Iceland
2. ANDILE DLAMINI Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies Johannesburg
3. YOLULA TSAWE Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies Johannesburg
4. LEBOGANG RAMALEPE Maindis FC Polokwane
5. NOTHANDO VILAKAZI Palace Super Falcons FC Johannesburg
6. JANINE VAN WYK JVW FC Johannesburg
7. NOKO MATLOU Maindis FC Polokwane
8. LERATO KGASAGO Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies Johannesburg
9. NOMATHEMBA NTSIBANDE Springs Home Sweepers Johannesburg
10. ZAMANDOSI CELE Durban Ladies FC Pietermaritzburg
11. KELSO PESKIN Tyler Junior College USA
12. MAMELLO MAKHABANE JVW FC Johannesburg
13. ALOCHIA THOBOKELA Mamelodi Sundowns Ladiesd Johannesburg
14. AMANDA DLAMINI University of Johannesburg Johannesburg
15. SILINDILE NGUBANE Durban Ladies FC Pietermaritzburg
16. REFILOE JANE VUT Ladies Vaal
17. LEANDRA SMEDA UWC Ladies Cape Town
18. NOMPUMELELO NYANDENI JVW FC Johannesburg
19. BONGIWE THUSI Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies Johannesburg
20. JERMAINE SEOPOSENWE Samford University USA
21. SANAH MOLLO Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies Johannesburg
22. SHIWE NOGWANYA Bloemfontein Celtic Bloemfontein
23. THEMBI KGATLANA UWC Ladies Cape Town
24. RHODA MULAUDZI Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies Johannesburg