'Banyana must get overseas exposure' - coach Desiree Ellis

Banyana Banyana players Bambanani Mbane and Rhoda Mulaudzi were welcomed by enthusiastic fans at OR Tambo Airport yesterday following their elimination from the World Cup./ Veli Nhlapo
Banyana Banyana players Bambanani Mbane and Rhoda Mulaudzi were welcomed by enthusiastic fans at OR Tambo Airport yesterday following their elimination from the World Cup./ Veli Nhlapo

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has urged more SA players to secure moves overseas in order to make the national team more competitive on the international stage.

The South African women's football team returned to the country yesterday after they bowed out of the Fifa Women's World Cup without a win.

The team was welcomed home by a group of supporters following their historic maiden appearance at the tournament.

"A national league is anticipated to start, but my biggest prayer and hope is that players get overseas contracts," Ellis said at OR Tambo International Airport yesterday.

"It's important that players play and train consistently at a high level, not just internationally but in club football as well.

"You can see the difference in our players who are abroad, they have matured and it's important for our players to take their game to the next level."

The 23-woman squad for the global showpiece had a handful of foreign-based players, including Linda Motlhalo, Thembi Kgatlana (both Beijing Phoenix, China), Jermaine Seoposenwe (Gintra Universitetas, Lithuania) and Ode Fulutudilu (Malaga, Spain), to name a few.

Banyana will next take part in the Cosafa Women's Championship in Port Elizabeth from July 31 to August 11.

The 32-year-old Banyana captain, Janine van Wyk, says the team has a solid foundation to build from for the next World Cup in 2023.

"We have experienced players and we also have the young blood coming through.

"The talent that has been coming through has been phenomenal," she said.

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