One of the handful of nations debuting at the World Cup this summer, the onus will be on Bayana Bayana to prove that the investment from COSAFA (Council of Southern Africa Football Associations) and Sasol (their main sponsor) is being used wisely.
Although their very presence at the tournament would suggest the evolution of the team and the successes they’ve already had.
A nation leading the way in their sub-confederation to upset the balance in Africa and rise to the level of teams from the west, South Africa are not a side to be taken lightly, the nation one that has begun to push the historically dominant Nigeria all the way.
In a group with Spain, Germany and China, Desiree Ellis will have her work cut out for her to adjust and ready the team for three very different opponents, the chance for the four highest third-place group finishers working strongly in their favour.
Maybe not a team to upset the applecart quite yet, don’t be surprised if you see Bayana Bayana in the knock-outs.
Goalkeepers: Mapaseka Mpuru (University of Pretoria), Andile Dlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns), Kaylin Swart (Golden Stars).
Defenders: Lebogang Ramalepe (MaIndies), Nothando Vilakazi (Gintra Universitetas), Noko Matlou (MaIndies). Janine van Wyk (JVW), Bambanani Mbane (Bloemfontein Celtic), Tiisetso Makhubela (Mamelodi Sundowns), Bongeka Gamede (University of the Western Cape).
Midfielders: Mamello Makhabane (JVW), Karabo Dhlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns), Linda Motlhalo (Beijing Phoenix), Refiloe Jane (Unattached), Leandra Smeda (Vittsjö), Busisiwe Ndimeni (University of Pretoria), Kholosa Biyana (University of KwaZulu-Natal), Sibulele Holweni (Sophakama Ladies/HPC).
Attackers: Ode Fulutudilu (Málaga), Amanda Mthandi (University of Johannesburg), Thembi Kgatlana (Beijing Phoenix), Jermaine Seoposenwe (Gintra Universitetas), Rhoda Mulaudzi (Unattached).
Probably not quite a match for Germany and Spain, South Africa’s tournament progression is likely to hinge on their performance against China and this is where they could come out on top. If Bayana Bayana can stem the flow against their European opposition, they’ll do well to progress as a top third-placed team but should they reach the knockouts, although it’s hard to see South Africa getting over the first hurdle.
Also see: Our main 2019 Women’s World Cup page.
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