Banyana stars view Nigeria tourney as perfect tune-up

Awcon qualifiers, Cosafa Cup looming large

Neville Khoza Journalist
Banyana Banyana players during the Banyana Banyana media open day at SAFA National Technical Centre on September 09, 2021 in Johannesburg.
Banyana Banyana players during the Banyana Banyana media open day at SAFA National Technical Centre on September 09, 2021 in Johannesburg.
Image: Lefty Shivambu

Banyana Banyana players Bambanani Mbane and Mamello Makhabane plan to use the Aisha Buhari Cup next week in Nigeria to see how far they are in their preparations for the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (Awcon) qualifiers and Cosafa Cup next month.

The tournament in Nigeria will be the first international match for Banyana since April when they played Zambia in a friendly they won 3-1.

In Nigeria, they will compete against the host nation, Cameroon, Ghana, Zambia and Mali.

Mbane said this tournament is ideal for them as they continue with their preparations for their back-to-back qualifiers against Mozambique on October 18 and 26.

“I’m very excited because it’s been a long time that we have not played international games, so this tournament will give us an indication as players how far we are with ourselves and football,” Mbane told the media yesterday.

“Everyone is doing well and since our league is still on the fitness level there obviously is still room for improvement and this tournament will be a test for us in terms of that. The girls are positive heading into this tournament.”

Banyana are set to depart for Nigeria on Sunday, where they will be joined by overseas-based players.

“It is not going to be an easy tournament but if you look at our squad we also have players who are playing abroad,” she said.

“So we are going there to compete, not to add numbers. I have confidence that we will win. We have played Nigeria before and we know what to expect, so going there will help us for the upcoming matches.”

Banyana squad

Goalkeepers: Kaylin Swart (JVW FC), Regirl Ngobeni (University of the Western Cape).

Defenders: Lebohang Ramalepe (Dinamo Minsk), Janine van Wyk (Glasgow City), Tiisetso Makhubele (Tshwane University of Technology), Bambanani Mbane (Sundowns), Koketso Tlailane (Tshwane University of Technology).

Midfielders: Ongeziwe Ndlangisa (Sunflower), Mamello Makhabane (JVW), Thembi Kgatlana (Atletico Madrid), Refiloe Jane (AC Milan), Linda Motlhalo (Djurgardens), Robyn Moodaly (JVW), Noxolo Cesane (UWC); Gabriela Salgado (JVW).

Forwards: Sibulele Holweni (UWC), Melinda Kgadiete (Sundowns), Hildah Magaia (Moron BK).

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