Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has named the team to face DR Congo in two 2024 CAF Women’s Olympic qualifiers this month. Long-serving former captain Janine van Wyk has been brought back to the squad.

The Banyana Banyana coach made the announcement during the Sasol League National Championships at the Dr. Petrus Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein on Thursday.

ALSO READ: Modiegi Komane appointed CEO of Netball SA

“It is important to say thank you to players like Van Wyk for the amount of work, sacrifice and dedication they have given to the country.

“Janine has led the team with aplomb for so many years and she did it while wearing her heart on her sleeve. I used to say that if I had 10 Janines on the pitch. she was someone that never gave up and that still resonates in the national team, of never giving up,” Ellis said.

“If you look at what Janine has done, not just for the national team, but for women’s football in the country, I think it is only fair that she gets her flowers.”

Van Wyk has earned 183 international caps during a gloried career and should Ellis play her in the two matches, she will become the most capped player, male or female, on the continent.

Banyana squad

Ellis said she has kept a close eye on DR Congo and will relay as much information as possible to her players.

“We also know what their strengths are and we have to make sure that we take control of the game. I think the first 20 minutes will be key, and we have to make sure we do not concede.”

BANYANA BANYANA TEAM FOR OLYMPIC QUALIFIERS NAMED 

Sasol Senior Manager: Group Brand and Sponsorship Nozipho Mbatha congratulated the players who have been selected to the South African senior women’s team and wished the team well ahead of the two assignments.

“We would like to congratulate everyone who has been selected to play against Democratic Republic of Congo. The last time the team qualified for the Olympic Games women’s football tournament, it was in 2016 and we believe that the chosen team can change that.

“We encourage them to keep at it and go do their best. We are all standing behind you for we know you are a team that is known for performing the impossible,” said Mbatha.

Banyana Banyana will face the DR Congo in the first leg away from home on 25 October 2023 and then host the Congolese in South Africa on Monday 30 October 2023.

Tickets to the match at home at Orlando Stadium are free and can be collected from the stadium. The tickets will be available for collection at the Soweto venue from Thursday 26 October 2023.

Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis has reacted to the defeat of her team against World Cup number 3 Sweden at Wellington Regional Stadium.

Banyana failed to protect their lead from Hildah Magaia three minutes into the second half. The CAF Women Africa Cup of Nations winners conceded a goal 17 minutes after taking the lead.

The goal initially looked like an own goal by Lebohang Ramalepe but it was later awarded to Fridolina Rolfö.

ALSO READ: More bonuses for Banyana Banyana players

Ellis says they managed the threats that Sweden had thrown at them but the decision-making let them down.

“Everything that [they] threw at us we handled it very well. I thought our transitions were very good but decision-making in the final third could’ve been better on occasion,” said Ellis during a post-match interview.

Desiree Ellis describes Sweden's equaliser during Banyana Banyana defeat as unfortunate
Banyana Banyana team photo

DESIREE ELLIS BEMOANS SWEDEN EQUALISER DURING DEFEAT

“When we scored, we still had control of the game. I think the own goal came at an unfortunate time. I think that put us back a bit and we always knew that physically they were going to challenge us aerially.”

She added: “I thought throughout the game we handled that extremely well. [I’m] really proud of the players. We had the game plan and we played according to the game plan but we didn’t take our chances.”

Banyana managed to have four shots on target against World Cup favourites even though they only managed to convert one. Therefore, Ellis insists there were a lot of positives from her side but if her team was good in the final third, the results would’ve been different.

“A lot of positives I thought we were really good on the ball and were really good defensively. We worked a lot on our defence, we worked a lot on our set-pieces I thought we handled those two areas very well.

“The transition in the final ball in the final third if it was better, we would have talked about different results now,” she concluded.

South Africa will face Argentina in a must win match at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday at 02H00 South African time.

By Katleho Hlalele

Former Banyana Banyana captain Portia Modise has lashed out to criticize the South African Women’s national team coach, Desiree Ellis following the dead-heat between players and SAFA.

The unhappy Banyana World Cup-bound squad had boycotted the international send-off match which they were supposed to play against Botswana on Sunday. This is reportedly due to the poor pitch at Tsakane Stadium and the financial issues.

However, SAFA had quickly assembled a team to face Botswana on the day, and seemingly forced coach Ellis to be on the touchlines to coach the team.
Banyana Banyana eventually lost 5-0 to the Southern Africa team.

PORTIA MODISE CONDEMNS DESIREE ELLIS

Speaking to LimSportsZone, the retired Banyana Banyana player, Modise could not hold back as she expressed her unfavourable opinion on Desiree Ellis.

Modise, once a fan favourite player of the South African women’s team, has denounced Ellis —saying that she has failed her players and South African football lovers by coaching Danny Jordaan’s constructed team.

“Let’s leave the poor girls who we don’t even know what he (Jordaan) promised them and discuss the coach, where was her loyalty? Why did she go to sit on that bench instead of standing firm with her team? An angry Modise asked.

“The girls (World Cup-bound squad) won her trophies, and the country was behind her all along. But she didn’t look at the bigger picture. She only focused on her job because she was scared that Danny Jordaan would let go of her.

“Why are you sitting on the bench, just to be loved by Jordaan who has ruined her team already? She didn’t really look at the bigger picture. She should have not been there to coach that team.

“I know people will think I am against or hate our coach (Desiree) which is not what I am. I know the effort that she puts in, I know the effort that our girls are putting in.

Portia Modise Desiree Ellis was disloyal to Banyana Banyana
Desiree Ellis

“This is not against the coach, but we are trying to fight for our team. They don’t call us or her a “Mbokoto” for nothing. She fought and delivered with the team. The federation should respect us.”

“People don’t listen, when I said this a long time ago, I was told I’m bitter and my time is up. I must keep quiet. Look at the situation now. I knew this was going to happen and now people act as if they care.”

BANYANA BANYANA ISSUE TO BE RESOLVED?

SAFA and Banyana Banyana, together with Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, are expected to host a meeting to resolve the unfortunate situation before players fly to Australia and New Zealand for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
South Africa were drawn in Group G at the World Cup with Argentina, Italy, and Sweden. They will start off the tournament on 23 July against Sweden, before facing Argentina on July 28. The last match of the group stage will see them play Italy on August 2.

By Clifton Mabasa

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has named a preliminary 36-member squad for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The tournament is taking place in Australia and New Zealand from 20 July until 20 August 2023. 

Banyana are due to go for a camp in Johannesburg on 12 June. Players will get a chance to impress Ellis before the final list for the global tournament is announced later this month.

Ellis told www.safa.net that selecting the preliminary squad was one of the most difficult tasks she has ever had to do as coach of the national team. 

“It’s most probably one of the most difficult selections I’ve ever had to make. As a coach you always say players must raise their hand and make it difficult,” she said.

DIFFICULT TASK FOR DESIREE SELECTING 36 PLAYERS

“It has been very difficult [selecting the preliminary squad]. Congratulations to the players that have made the preliminary squad.

“We are always saying players must raise their hands, and many of them have raised the hands. But this is the group of players that we think we can select from, and they have raised their hands,” she explained. 

“We are going to do a final selection as well as announce the final 23 plus three. That is even going to be more difficult. But this is the group of players that we think will do the job for us.”

Banyana’s highest capped player, Janine van Wyk has been withdrawn from the list due to injury.

van Wyk thanked coach Desiree Ellis for considering her and confirmed that she sustained an injury.  

“I have sustained an injury that I personally feel would impact my chances of performing at the highest level that is required to make the World Cup squad. I have to turn down the call-up with a heavy heart, but also knowing that I am doing what is best for the team,” she said.

BANYANA BANYANA PRELIMINARY WORLD CUP SQUAD: 

Desiree Ellis names Banyana Banyana preliminary Women’s World Cup squad
Banyana Banyana preliminary Women’s World Cup squad

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis took some positives despite the 3-2 loss against Serbia in an international friendly at Stara Pazova on Monday afternoon.

The hosts won the game in the first half, but Banyana Banyana managed to salvage two goals that came through from Hilda Magaia and Jermaine Seoposenwe.

Also read: Banyana Banyana celebrate Turkish Women’s Cup triumph

According to the South African tactician, Desiree Ellis, their struggles with set pieces cost them but not all was lost as her side handled things better after the first quarter.

“The first 15 minutes when they got all those corners and set pieces, we didn’t really organise well. I thought the third goal -set piece, we could have dealt better with that but after that, I think we were completely in control,” Ellis told the SAFA media.

“How we got one or two chances we didn’t take. Then we got another one, took it, and went to half time 3-1, but prior to that we were a lot in control and after that, we dealt with everything they threw at us,”

Desiree Ellis encouraged despite Banyana Banyana loss
Banyana Banyana action against Serbia

Coach Ellis stated that her charges delivered a promising second half, even though they couldn’t manage to add one more goal and settle for a draw.

“When we came out for the second half, we were even better, we kept up the intensity and we rotated the ball very quickly. We got another chance and Jermaine [Seoposenwe] put it away but we couldn’t get that final one,” she added.

DESIREE ELLIS ENCOURAGED DESPITE LOSS

“There’s a couple of boxes we can tick, of course, not the results we wanted. I need to go back and have a look at the set pieces and how we can do that better.

“I felt in open play we were solid defensively and that is one thing we’ve been working on extensively. Our transitions could’ve been better because there were some moments, if we had played the ball early, we were in on goal.

She went on to say that she was happy to see her side display the things that they have been working on at training and it worked out.

“But what we worked on is exciting and encouraging to see that a lot of it came together.”

By Senolwetu Tompela

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis says Serbia is a formidable opponent that will give them a decent enough challenge to help her team prepare for the World Cup.

The CAF Wafcon champions convened for camp earlier this week for the preparation of the international friendly against Serbia that is set to take place on the 10th of April.

DESIREE ELLIS ACKNOWLEDGES SERBIA CHALLENGE

Coach Ellis acknowledged that despite their recent success in Turkey, they have encountered challenging opponents in their previous games and Serbia is among the tough ones too.

“We had in the previous camp really good opponents, in this camp, we have a very strong opponent as well,” said Ellis in an interview with SAFA.

“We’ve watched a couple of their games, very strong physically, very quick, and hold the ball well. You know last year during the qualifiers for the world cup they beat Germany.

Also read: Banyana Banyana celebrate Turkish Women’s Cup triumph

“So, it’s not an easy team, they are a very difficult team, and we want resistance. We are working on a couple of things to get ready for the World Cup.

She further explained that they are presently working on specific things. Adding that through this game, they will be able to monitor their progress.

“On how we are going to approach the first game, a lot of things we’ve worked on. Obviously we will look at if we can get some of those things implemented in this upcoming game against Serbia.

“It might not be evident in everything. But there’s something we are working on because we need to be ready for the world cup,” she added.

The sixth of April will see Banyana depart for Serbia.

By Sinolwetu Tompela

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has named a preliminary 32-member squad to face Serbia in a friendly international match next month.

The clash is part of the team’s preparations for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

“We have a 32-player Banyana Banyana preliminary squad that we have chosen for this upcoming camp. 26 local players will go into camp on the 27th March,” she said.

Also read: Banyana Banyana celebrate Turkish Women’s Cup triumph

“We thank the coaches in the Hollywoodbets Super League as well as the SASOL Women’s League.

Banyana Banyana preliminary squad to face Serbia announced
Banyana Banyana preliminary squad to face Serbia announced

Desiree Ellis upbeat ahead of international friendly

“We thank them for the work that they’ve put in so far and we really appreciate every single player for this local camp. We want to make sure that we push him to the next level,” added Ellis. 

“This is a very big year for women’s football and when the final 23-player traveling party to the FIFA Women’s World Cup is announced. We want to make sure that when we meet up with the other players that we’ve pushed them to a different level.

“This is all part of our preparation towards the World Cup. And as we said, we start now with what we plan to do at the World Cup. So far the players have responded fantastically in the last camp (in Turkey). We hope we can take it to the next level in the camp.” 

The team will depart for Serbia on 6 April 2023 and then face the Serbians on 10 April.

Banyana Banyana Preliminary squad:

Goalkeepers: 

 ANDILE DLAMINI, KAYLIN SWART, REGIRL NGOBENI, KATLEGO MOLETSANE, DINEO MAGAGULA.

Defenders: 

ASANDA HADEBE, KARABO DHLAMINI, FIKILE MAGAMA, TIISETSO MAKHUBELA, LONATHEMBA MHLONGO, NOKO MATLOU, BAMBANANI MBANE, BONGEKA GAMEDE. 

Midfielders: 

 REFILOE JANE, SIBULELE HOLWENI, THUBELIHLE SHAMASE, LINDA MOTLHALO, KHOLOSA BIYANA, CIMONE SAULS, NOMVULA KGOALE, ROBYN MOODALY,  AMOGELANG MOTAU. 

Forwards: 

NOXOLO CESANE, GABRIELA SALGADO, SPHUMELELE SHAMASE,  JERMAINE SEOPOSENWE, MELINDA KGADIETE, NTHABISENG MAJIYA, HILDAH MAGAIA, LELONA DAWETI, NTOMBIFIKILE NDLOVU, WENDY SHONGWE. 

The Banyana Banyana squad set to compete at this month’s Turkish Women’s Cup has officially been confirmed. The 26-member team was unveiled by coach Desiree Ellis during a media briefing on Monday.

The tournament is set to take place in Turkey from 13-23 February 2023. SAFA have been invited alongside Turkey, Banyana Banyana, Slovenia, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Zambia.

They will take on Turkey on Wednesday, 15 February, Uzbekistan on 18 February and Venezuela on 21 February.

BANYANA BANYANA TO USE TURKISH TOURNAMENT TO CORRECT MISTAKES

The tournament will be used to address the shortcomings identified during the team’s friendly internationals against Brazil and Australia in 2023. They suffered back-to-back defeats to Brazil at home in South Africa in September, and then lost to Australia in London in October last year.

“When you look at the Brazil and Australia games last year. I think individually and defensively we were found wanting,” she said.

“We have got to be better. Any team’s foundation is built on a good defence. Before we were very good defensively and we knew we would get a chance or two and we would score. So, we have got to be better in that department.”

The Banyana coach also sent condolences to the people of Turkey following the devastating earthquake reportedly killed more than dozens of people and left thousands injured on Sunday. South Africa are also preparing for the 2023 Women’s World Cup taking place in New Zealand and Australia later on.

THE FULL BANYANA BANYANA SQUAD

Goalkeepers:

Andile Dlamini, Kayla Swart, Regirl Ngobeni, Katlego Moletswane.

Defenders:

Asande Hadebe, Karabo Dhlamomo, Fikile Magama, Faith Owuso, Tiiseto Makhubeela, Noko Matlou, Bambanani Mbane, Bongeka Gumeda.

Midfielders:

Refiloe Jane, Sibulele Holweni, Linda Motlhalo, Kholosa Biyana, Thalea Smidt, Robyn Moodaly, Amagelang Motau.

Forwards:

Noxolo Cesane, Gabriela Salgado, Jermaine Seoposenwe, Melinda Kgadiete, Nthabiseng Majiya, Hildah Magaia, Lelola Daweti.

ALSO READ: New home for Banyana player Linda Motlhalo 

Banyana Banyana position remains unchanged in the latest FIFA rankings after the world football governing body released the list on Friday.

The reigning Women’s Africa Cup of Nations champions are ranked 54th in the world and second on the continent behind fierce rivals Nigeria. The Super Falcons retained top spot on the continental rankings and are 45th on the global list.

The SASOL-sponsored team played their final match of the year in Europe and it was against Australia’s Matildas in London, United Kingdom, on 8 October 2022. 

Linda Motlhalo celebrate Wafcon trophy with Banyana
Linda Motlhalo celebrate Wafcon trophy with Banyana

BANYANA RESULTS

While the match ended in a 1-4 defeat for coach Desiree Ellis’ charges. The away outing served its purpose as it was part of the team’s preparations for the 2023 Women’s World Cup. It will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand from 20 July to 20 August 2023.

South Africa are in Group G with Sweden (ranked 3rd in the world), Italy (17th) and Argentina (29th). 

The team is expected to continue with preparation matches in 2023. The confirmed calendar will be shared with the public in due course.