More Banyana players abroad great for SA, says Ellis

Refiloe Jane has signed a professional contract with Canberra United of Australia.
Refiloe Jane has signed a professional contract with Canberra United of Australia.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis is pleased to see more of her players move overseas.

Banyana vice-captain Refiloe Jane and Rhoda Mulaudzi are the latest to move abroad after both signed for Australian club, Canberra United.

With the move, they have become the first SA women to sign for an Australian top flight side.

Ellis, the former Banyana skipper, reckons this augurs well for the national team ahead of this year's Africa Women Cup of Nations that will be held in Ghana from November 17 to December 1.

The tournament doubles up as the African qualifiers to the 2019 Fifa Women's World Cup that will be hosted by France.

Ellis said she's pleased that two of her players have moved overseas, where the competition was better than in the local game.

"It's amazing news," Ellis reacted. "It's absolutely fantastic news for South African football," she said.

Africa's top women side Nigeria boosts a huge foreign-based player pool, at about 90% of the Super Falcons squad.

Ellis is hoping SA can also have such numbers in future.

"It gives other kids hope that if they do well the opportunities are there," she added.

To further boost women's football, the SA Football Association are expected to launch a professional league next year. In the meantime, SA will host the Cosafa Women's Championship in Port Elizabeth from September 12-22.

Banyana are the defending champions after lifting the trophy in Zimbabwe last year.

SA will be joined by Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland. There will be two more invitational teams that are yet to be confirmed.

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