SAFA Assistant Technical Director, Fran Hilton-Smith, says it is of paramount importance for the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana to do well in the upcoming 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship that will be held in Zimbabwe in September.
Interim coach of the South African Senior Women’s National Team, Desiree Ellis, has called up 34 players to a selection training camp as part of preparations for the regjonal showpice.
The squad assembled for camp on Sunday, 23 July in Johannesburg.
“It’s the most important training camp because it’s one of the last ones for the coach to finalise the team. In September we have the COSAFA CUP tournament, so she has brought in 34 players to try and whitle down to the best squad possible,” said Hilton-Smith.
“The focus of this camp is fitness, to make sure that the players are at the required level for competition. They have been put through fitness tests so that the coaches can make sure that when the players go home, they must know where they should be with their fitness level before they meet again.”
With not much activity in 2017 for Banyana Banyana, the camps will be crucial, and friendly matches will be added.
“It’s life or death because we can’t proceed without competition, and for Banyana Banyana to prepare for the AFCON next year in Ghana, which also doubles as a World Cup qualifier, it is essential that the team plays as many competitive matches as possible and these will be confirmed in the not so distant future,” added Hilton-Smith.
The Assistant Technical Director is also pleased that some players will be playing in the World Student Games in Taipei (19 – 30 August 2017) as this helps with gaining international experience.
“USSA and Banyana Banyana work hand in hand and it’s very good that some of the national team players are going to the University Sport South Africa (USSA) Games because it further adds more experience in international competition,” said Hilton-Smith.
“What is also more pleasing is that one of our top coaches, Thinasonke Mbuli, who has a CAF A Licence, will lead the USSA Women’s football squad, and her assistant is former Banyaan Banyana player, Jabulile Baloyi who also holds a CAF A Licence. So it’s beneficial for both teams that they will be spending time camping, training and preparing because the COSAFA Cup comes shortly after the World Student Games – this only means we will have very fit and active, and also highly motivated players to take to Zimbabwe and it augurs well for our chances in the COSAFA Cup.”
The Banyana Banyana selection training camp concludes on Friday, 28 July.
COSAFA CUP Fact File:
- The 2017 Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Women’s Football Championship will be hosted by Zimbabwe
- It is scheduled for August to September
- This is the third time that Zimbabwe hosts the event, having hosted in 2002 and 2011
- Zambia and Angola hosted in 2006 and 2008 respectively
- South Africa has won the most titles with three wins in 2002, 2006 and 2008
- Zimbabwe won the tournament in 2011
- Eight Southern African nations will battle out for the 2017 title
- The regional showpiece will be held in Bulawayo – Zimbabwe’s second largest city
- Bulawayo only has three stadia – Luveve, White City and Barbourfields
The 12 Banyana Banyana players who are in the USSA squad:
|2.||Thato||LETSOSO||DEF||20||University of Johannesburg||Johannesburg|
|3.||Regina||MOGOLOLA||DEF||24||University of Pretoria||Pretoria|
|6.||Kholosa||BIYANA||MID||22||University of KZN||Durban|
|7.||Thembi||KGATLANA||MID||21||University of Western Cape||Cape Town|
|8.||Amogelang||MOTAU||MID||20||University of Western Cape||Cape Town|
|9.||Gabriela||SALGADO||MID||19||JVW FC (Varsity College)||Johannesburg|