We've got news for you.

Register on SowetanLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

Coach Ellis' plan to freshen her Banyana team

Mhlongo, Makhubela identified to take over from Matlou, Van Wyk

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Bambanani Nolufefe Mbane played a telling role in Wafcon glory.
Bambanani Nolufefe Mbane played a telling role in Wafcon glory.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has a succession plan for ageing key central defenders Noko Matlou, Janine van Wyk and Bambanani Mbane.

The trio played a telling role in Banyana's historic Women's Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) glory in Morocco last week. The 37-year-old Matlou and Mbane, 32, forged a stubborn central defensive unit that kept three clean sheets while conceding three times from their six Wafcon games. Van Wyk, 35, played second fiddle to Matlou and Mbane but her leadership attributes were applauded in Morocco.

Van Wyk confirmed to Sowetan in Morocco that next year's World Cup will be her last major tournament in Banyana colours. Matlou is also expected to bow out after the World Cup that'll be co-staged in Australia and New Zealand. Mbane is likely to go for a few more years. Ellis has tipped a few youngsters to pick up the baton from the trio in the near future.

"We do have Lonathemba [Mhlongo,19]. She had to go back because of an injury from our first training camp... she's not even 20 yet. We also have Tiisetso Makhubela who's 25, so there are a lot of players we want to bring through. The good thing is they know the set-up,'' Ellis told Sowetan after their 2-1 Wafcon final win over Morocco in Rabat last Saturday.

"Bongeka [Gamede, who was used as a cover full-back in Morocco] is also a central defender... she's only 23. We have Asanda Radebe, who is a natural left-back but can play as a centre-back. She was writing matric. So, we've got a lot of young players coming through. You don't want to touch players that are doing matric because we also want to give them an opportunity to be academically ready to tackle life.''

Ellis reiterated they'll integrate these fledging stars with the current squad in the next camp. We're looking to the future as well. We now have to get these players a little bit stronger... get them to more regular camps, so that they can grow. We will integrate them with our experienced players,'' added Ellis.

Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

Commenting is subject to our house rules.