Ellis names Banyana squad for Olympic qualifier

South Africa coach Des Ellis has named a 23-player squad for the Olympic Games third round qualifier against Tanzania.

Banyana Banyana must advance past the Tanzanians in the two-legged tie and then face the winner of the clash between Nigeria and Cameroon for a place at the Paris Games. They previously qualified for the Olympics in 20212 and 2016.

Banyana will be away in Tanzania in the first leg on Friday, with the return set for Nelspruit on Feb. 27.
The squad mostly comprises the usual suspects, with captain Refiloe Jane a notable absentee following her long-term injury.

The Mexican-based trio of forwards Jermaine Seoposenwe (Monterrey), Hildah Magaia (Mazatlan FC) and Thembi Kgatlana (Tigres UANL) are all there, along with Spanish-based defender Noko Matlou (SB Eibar) and midfielder Linda Motlhalo (Racing Louisville), who plays in the United States.

There are five players from African champions Mamelodi Sundowns, but it is perhaps a sign of the growing strength of the local league that other teams are well represented.

The University of the Western Cape has four representatives and TS Galaxy three, including exciting forward Nicole Michael.

COSAFA rivals Zambia are also still in the qualifiers, but in the other half of the draw. They meet Ghana in the third round and should they advance, will play the winner of the tie between Tunisia and Morocco for a place in Paris.

Banyana Banyana squad:

Goalkeepers: Andile Dlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns), Kaylin Swart (JVW FC), Katlego Moletsane (Royal AM)

Defenders: Karabo Dhlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns), Noko Matlou (SB Eibar, Spain), Fikile Magama (UWC), Asanda Hadebe (Sunflower FC), Lonathemba Mhlongo (UWC), Lebohang Ramalepe (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Midfielders: Kholosa Biyana (Mamelodi Sundowns), Linda Motlhalo (Racing Louisville, United States), Nomvula Kgoale (TS Galaxy), Sphumelele Shamase (UJ), Amogelang Motau (UWC), Thalea Smidt (Tuks Ladies), Lesego Nkoane (TS Galaxy)

Forwards: Nicole Michael (TS Galaxy), Gabriela Salgado (JVW FC), Noxolo Cesane (UWC), Nthabiseng Majiya (Mamelodi Sundowns), Jermaine Seoposenwe (Monterrey, Mexico), Hildah Magaia (Mazatlan FC, Mexico), Thembi Kgatlana (Tigres UANL, Mexico).