By NAKAMPE LEKWADU
BANYANA Banyana’s longest serving players, Nompumelelo “Mbuzi” Nyandeni and Portia “Bashin” Modise will be looking forward to the forthcoming CAF African Women Championships to realize their dream to make their 100th cap each.
Banyana takes on their African opponents in the competition which marks its 8th edition, and will also afford three countries which finishes in the top three a ticket to the FIFA World Cup next year.
Nyandeni who is currently plying her trade for the Russian club, Rossiyanka has 96 caps under her belt which saw her scored seven goals on the process with Modise, the team’s eldest player having been capped 95 times with 72 goals.
Nyandeni who turned 24 on August 19 is guaranteed three matches in the bag in the form of group matches which will up her caps to 99, and will be crossing her fingers that Banyana proceed to the next round of the competition which will guarantee her 100th cap. As for the 29 year-old Modise, Banyana will have to play their three group matches plus two more in the next round for her to make her 100th mark.
The Sasol-sponsored Banyana has been drawn in the group of death (Group A) against the hosts, Equatorial Guinea, Senegal and DR Congo, and their coach, Joseph Mkhonza said he was looking forward to put into practice their experience in their first-ever Olympic Games which took place in London four months ago.
“We have learnt a lot during the Olympic Games in London, and we are confident that we will do well in the AWC,” said the confident Mkhonza during his 21-squad announcement earlier today at the SAFA House in Nasrec, Jozi.
Mkhonza added: “After we failed to reach the final match in this competition which could have guaranteed us a place in the FIFA World Cup two years ago, we are looking forward to rectify that this time around and improve our rankings on the process.”
Banyana are ranked 56 on FIFA rankings and 4th on CAF, and SAFA chief executive officer, Robin Petersen is positive that they will do well in the forthcoming competition to improve those rankings.
“The team did well when they participated in this competition four years ago in Equatorial Guinea where they finished second and we are confident that they have what it take to do us proud out there,” said Petersen.
Sasol sponsorship specialist, Dumisane Mbokane said they have been watching with pride at the journey that Banyana have made during their four years sponsorship and they were pleased to work hand in glove with SAFA in creating a platform for the empowerment of women through football.
Banyana who hosted the last edition of this competition two years ago in Ekurhuleni where they finished third goes to this AWC which starts on October 28-November 11 in Equatorial Guinea highly motivated after the return of the University of Johannesburg’s influential Yola Jafta who missed the Olympic Games due to an injury.
Mkhonza has also brought in two youngsters to the team in the likes of Durban Ladies striker, Silindile Ngubane and High Performance Centre’s goalkeeper, Katlego Moletsane.
Banyana take on Zimbabwe in an international friendly fixture at the Dobsonville stadium, Soweto this Saturday, kick-off is at 7pm
The rest of the team:
Goalkeepers: Thokozile Mdaweni (University of Johannesburg)
Andile Dlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Katlego Moletsane (High Performance Centre)
Defenders: Nothando Vilakazi, Janine van Wyk (both from Palace Super Falcons), Amanda Sister (Liverpool Ladies), Zamandosi Cele (Durban Ladies), Refiloe Jane (Sundowns), Lebogang Mabatle (Hallelujah Zebra Force)
Midfielders: Leandra Smeda, Nocawe Sikiti (both from Cape Town Roses), Amandla Dlamini, Yola Jafta (both from UJ), Gabisile Hlumbane (Kovsies Ladies), Nompumelelo Dlamini (FC Rossiyanka, Russia)
Strikers: Noko Matlou (UJ), Portia Modise (Super Falcons), Andisiwe Mgcoyi, Sundowns), Silindile Ngubane (Durban Ladies), Sanah Mollo (Bloemfontein Celtic) and Jermaine Seoposenwe (Spurs WFC)