Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has named her squad to face Japan in a friendly international in November.
The friendly is scheduled to take place on 10 November in Fukuoka, Japan.
Regular Banyana skipper, Janine van Wyk, remains unavailable as she recovers from a knee injury suffered during the Cosafa Cup triumph.
Ellis still has plenty of experience at her disposal though calling on veteran winger Leandra Smeda, who is based in Sweden as well as AC Milan midfielder Refiloe Jane.
Emerging star Thembi Kgatlana is expected to lead the line for a Banyana team who will want to impose themselves on the slighter Japanese team.
Mamelodi Sundowns forward Lelona Daweti is the only uncapped player in a squad looking to bounce back from the failure to secure a spot at the 2020 Olympics.
“This is a big test for us, more so because it comes at the back of a loss in the Olympic qualifiers. This is a great test of character for the players as we will be facing one of the most formidable sides in women’s football, who have won the World Cup,” Banyana head coach, Desiree Ellis said on SAFA‘s official website.
Despite building towards future tournaments, Ellis has found many of the younger Banyana prospects unavailable due to Matric and Varsity exams.
“Some of the players were not available because they are writing matric exams,” she explained. “Then you have others who are writing varsity exams. We couldn’t select those players, so we went with the squad that we had.”
Ellis hopes the friendly can restore the confidence of a side that failed to build on the progress made over the last few years when they bombed out of Olympic qualifying to Botswana in a penalty shootout.
“When you lose to a lower-ranked team, a much lower-ranked team, it is expected that you will drop points,” she said. “It’s not where we want to be and to put up a very good performance against Japan will improve the ranking as well but not just improve the ranking but also give a little more confidence after not qualifying for the Olympics,” Ellis added.
Banyana Banyana squad to face Japan