By Sizakele Nkosi
South African Women’s National Team departed the country’s OR Tambo International airport on Tuesday night ahead of their first-time clash against the United States of America.
The match between USWNT and SAWNT will be played on the 9 July, Chicago, Soldier Field and kick-off 12pm, local (SA time 19h00)
Ahead of this all-important friendly, Banyana Banyana Head coach Vera Pauw has seen two players returning from injury and striving for a place in her final squad. They are Robyn Moodaly and Rhoda Mulaudzi. The Last time Robyn featured for Banyana was on 18 October during the Olympic qualifiers against Equatorial Guinea in Bata .
“Robyn had a knee operation and she has been undergoing rehabilitation in the US. During the process she developed bacterial infection on the same knee, which held back her healing process but we are grateful for the rehabilitation she received abroad. Up to this point she had looked doubtful that she will be fit on time, but this past week at training we saw a different perspective. It is now up to her to see if she will be ready to play any part in the Olympics,” said Pauw.
“The Olympics are the biggest sporting event in the world, so we also need to be sure that she can play her part before we include her in the final list. At the moment it seems as if she is jumping the queue in the squad selection, but she has been working very hard on a daily basis to reach the level that she is at now – and all of that has been happening behind the scenes. Now that she is here with us we are able to do further assessments and evaluation,” the Dutch added.
At the Olympic Games, teams are required to have a squad of 18 +4 standby players. The Mamelodi Sundowns teammates Rhoda Mulaudzi and Bongiwe Thusi, joined by Mapaseka Mapuru are placed on standby from 28 players that were in camp.
Pauw says the match against the US will help her gauge her players’ readiness against top opposition at the Olympic Games. The Banyana coach traveled with 25 players to play the world champions.
“To prepare for the Olympics, we have to play the best in the world and who better than the reigning world and Olympic champions. Thanks to Sasol and SAFA once again that we have been able to play against top nations. This upcoming match will give us a better indication of our readiness to take on the best at the Rio Olympics in Brazil this August,” Pauw concluded.
Sasol Banyana Banyana Squad / USA – South Africa / 9th July 2016
1. Roxanne Barker SC Heerenveen Holland
2. Andile Dlamini Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies Johannesburg
3. Kaylin Swart Menlo College USA
4. Lebohang Ramalepe Maindis FC Polokwane
5. Nothando Vilakazi Palace Super Falcons FC Johannesburg
6. Janine van Wyk (C) JvW FC Johannesburg
7. Noko Matlou Maindis FC Polokwane
8. Lerato Kgasago Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies Johannesburg
9. Nomathemba Ntsibande Springs Home Sweepers Johannesburg
10. Bambanani Mbane Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies Bloemfontein
11. Lebogang Mabatle Tuks Pretoria
12. Mamello Makhabane JvW FC Johannesburg
13. Amanda Dlamini JvW FC Johannesburg
14. Silindile Ngubane Durban Ladies FC Pietermaritzburg
15. Refiloe Jane Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies Johannesburg
16. Leandra Smeda UWC Ladies Cape Town
17. Nompumelelo Nyandeni JvW FC Johannesburg
18. Linda Motlhalo JvW FC Johannesburg
19. Stephanie Malherbe Texas A & M University USA
20. Robyn Moodaly University of Northwestern Ohio USA
21. Sanah Mollo Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies Johannesburg
22. Shiwe Nogwanya Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies Bloemfontein
23. Thembi Kgatlana UWC Ladies Cape Town
24. Chantelle Essau Palace Super Falcons FC Johannesburg
25. Jermaine Seoposenwe Samform University USA
1. Mapaseka Mpuru HPC Pretoria
2. Rhoda Mulaudzi Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies Johannesburg
3. Bongiwe Thusi Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies Johannesburg