Banyana coach Desiree Ellis wields axe as four seniors are dropped

Athenkosi Tsotsi Sports Reporter
Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis
Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has finally cracked the whip on underperforming Women's Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) winners as she dropped four players for the upcoming friendly match against Australia. 

Captain Janine van Wyk,  Kaylin Swart, Lebogang Ramalepe,  and Nomvula Kgoale are the big omissions due to form from the 23-member Banyana Banyana squad that will take on the Matildas on October 8 in London, England. The likes of Thembi Kgatlana, Noko Matlou, Noxolo Cesane and others will miss out because of injury, visa issues and school commitments. 

Ellis has been warning the players that were part of the Wafcon squad that they are not guaranteed a place in the team for next year's Women's Fifa World Cup. To avoid sounding like a broken record and her words spoken in vain, she made a huge statement when she announced the squad yesterday at the SABC Sports studios. 

The Banyana coach elaborated on why she put on the sidelines the more experienced names and opted to rope in youngsters like Fikile Magama, Cimone Sauls and Cynthia Makete. 

"We have to look at other players, we know what Janine, Ramalepe, Kaylin, and Nomvula can bring but we have to look at others. I said from the beginning that when you’ve gone to the Wafcon that you will go to the  world cup. The world cup is a different level, and everybody has to raise their level," said Ellis.

“Players have shown a lot of form and we need to give them an opportunity to test themselves at the highest level, otherwise how would you know if they can play at this level if you play just the same team all the time?" she said. 

Ellis went on to say that the door is not closed for those who did not make the squad or have not been part of the team in past. 

"The door is not closed for anyone who is not part of the squad or has not been called up before. We will reward players, we won’t tinker too much. The closer we get we’ll settle down on a core group," she said.

“We are always looking to refresh the squad, bringing in players doesn’t mean it’s the final team. The players who are not here don't mean that they are never going to get a call back again. We need to give others an opportunity, players who have played well," Ellis said. 

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