Head coach of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana, Desiree Ellis, has added three players to 23 she named for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, starting next month (7 June – 7 July).
The trio – midfielders Nompumelelo Nyandeni and Ongeziwe Ndlangisa, as well as goalkeeper Jessica Williams – have been called up as standby players and will travel with the squad to France this evening (Thursday, 23 May 2019), but will return to South Africa after the friendly against Norway on Sunday, 2 June in Amiens.
“For a tournament like the World Cup, you need to have players on standby in the event of an injury to the anyone in the squad that have been selected. The three players have been part of the Banyana Banyana set-up in recent times and know how the team plays,” said Ellis.
“The reason we are going with them to France is that we still have a match to play and don’t want to have to call someone from back home, and also they will be at the same level of fitness as the other players so it will not be a challenge to introduce them back into the team – so in other words we always have to be ready with our planning.”
Meanwhile, the China-based duo of Linda Motlhalo and Thembi Kgatlana have reported for national team duty. Both missed the friendly match against the USA earlier this month (12 May) due to club commitments.
This takes the number of players in camp to 22, including the standby players.
The quartet of Leandra Smeda, who plays in Sweden and also missed the USA clash, Nothando Vilakazi and Jermaine Seoposenwe (both Lithuania) and Spain-based Ode Fulutudilu, will meet the squad in France to complete the 26-member squad.
South Africa will face Spain on 8 June in their opening clash of their maiden World Cup. The match takes place in Le Havre, and will be followed clashes against China PR on 13 June and Germany on 17 June in Paris and Montpellier respectively.