Pretoria – Banyana Banyana will be looking to continue their winning streak when they host Botswana in an All-Africa Games qualifier first leg match at the old Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane on Saturday.
Kick-off of this crucial encounter is at 3pm.
The South Africans have achieved success in all of their past six matches since Joseph Mkhonza took charge of the senior women’s national team shortly before Christmas last year.
Fresh from a tough away 6-5 victory on penalties over Tunisia in North Africa a fortnight ago injuries have restricted selection options.
Goalkeeper Thoko Mndaweni, central defenders Janine van Wyk and Yola Jafta as well as midfielder Nocawe Skiti are sidelined due to injury, but the national coaching staff will be hoping to get some of the injured players fit in time for the return leg against Botswana in Gaborone on 14 May.
The team with the best aggregate from the home and away matches will qualify for the All-Africa Games to be held in Maputo, Mozambique in September.
Fortunately for Mkhonza, the national squad has developed depth with Russian-based Busisiwe Ndimeni and Croesus Ladies midfielder Mantombi Hadebe returning to international action. Defender Sisebo Mokgopa of Luso Africa has got a call up for the first time since being injured prior to last year’s CAF African Women Championship 2010 held in Ekurhuleni.
The team has an element of youth about it with midfielders Rachel Sebati and 16-year-old Robyn Moodaly having represented Bantwana (the South African national under 17 women’s team) at the FIFA under 17 Women’s 2010 World Cup in the Caribbean.
Sebati has yet to be capped at senior international level, while Moodaly’s slick touches have added a new dimension to the Banyana Banyana play during her four appearances.
Mkhonza said: “While injuries have impacted on our national team selection, I am pleased that some of the other players will now get a chance to show their worth. Even though I would have liked to keep the team unchanged from the previous matches, we must also look at this as a blessing in disguise in that we are increasing our pool of national team players. This will help us a great deal in future.” – Nthambeleni Gabara, BuaNews
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