Banyana Banyana aim to end dry spell

Banyana Banyana players busy at training yesterday for the friendly international against Lesotho on Sunday. /Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Banyana Banyana players busy at training yesterday for the friendly international against Lesotho on Sunday. /Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Having gone a disappointing 16 games without a win, Banyana Banyana stand a good chance to finally end their drought winless streak when they host Lesotho in an international friendly at Tsakane Stadium on Sunday (3pm).

Seemingly Lesotho, who are ranked 143rd on the Fifa rankings, will have their work cut out to upset the 55th- ranked SA. Banyana boast World Cup and Olympics experience, while The Beautiful Flowers have never been to any major international competition.

As she has called up 10 uncapped players for Sunday's encounter, Banyana mentor Desiree Ellis intends to widen the pool of national team players. Banyana's last win came at the Africa Women Cup of Nations in Ghana in November 2018, beating Mali 2-0 in the semifinals in Ghana.

"We need to make the core group bigger. We must have a squad where one player gets injured we have a player of the same quality to come in. You look at the US, they can probably field two different teams and still do well," said Ellis.

In the squad, Mapaseka Mpuru, Jessica Williams and Neliswa Luthuli have experienced the national team set-up before, but are yet to don the Banyana jersey in an official fixture.

Xiluva Tshabalala, Karabo Makhurubetshi, Nonhlanhla Mthandi, Nomsa Mathonsi, Pride Nthite, Oratile Mokwena and Lorraine Makhoali received their maiden call-ups for the Lesotho game.

There's no overseas-based player in the squad, while the experienced Janine van Wyk and Leandra Smeda, among others, were also omitted.

"With no disrespect to Lesotho for leaving out these [experienced] players, the main aim for us is to look into the future.

"We have to ask ourselves the question: what do we have going forward? I know exactly what these regulars can offer the team, but we also have to work on a succession plan," Ellis said.

Goalkeeper Andile Dlamini, who'll play his 50th Banyana game, is expected to skipper Ellis' charges on Sunday.

"This is just unbelievable, who'd have thought I could make it this far? Do you know how difficult it is for goalkeepers to reach this milestone? It's been something I have strived for,'' Dlamini said.

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