Ellis names South Africa squad for 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship

South Africa coach Desiree Ellis has named her squad for the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship to be staged in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe from September 13-24.

Banyana Banyana will be seeking a fourth regional title having won the first three COSAFA Women’s Championships played between 2002 and 2008, before losing in the final to hosts Zimbabwe in 2011.

The squad will go into camp on Tuesday ahead of their Group C opener against Lesotho on Sept. 14. They also take on Namibia (Sept. 15) and Botswana (Sept. 17).

Ellis has selected a strong squad but has been hit by some withdrawals, not least national captain Janine van Wyk who is playing for Houston Dash in the National Women’s Soccer League in the USA.

Linda Motlhalo and Gabriela Salgado will focus on the national Under-20 side in their bid to qualify for the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup, while Andisiwe Mgcoyi is only recently back from injury.

But Ellis has otherwise been able to call on a number of her top stars, which shows the importance she has placed on the COSAFA Women’s Championship.

“This is a very important tournament, one which we have won on three occasions. We lost the 2011 final to Zimbabwe and we would very much like to win it again. We haven’t played a competitive match since January this year, and this showpiece will help bring us back to our shape,” Ellis said.

“We also see it as a perfect platform for other players to raise their hands. We are glad we had a selection camp not so long ago and it helped us come with a very competitive squad that we are taking to Zimbabwe. I am confident we will do well.”

South Africa squad:

Goalkeepers: Andile Dlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns), Yolula Tsawe (JVW-FC), Roxanne Barker (Cape Town Roses)

Defenders: Nothando Vilakazi (Palace Super Falcons), Koketso Tlailane (TUT-PTA), Noko Matlou (Ma-Indies FC), Bambanani Nolufefe (Bloemfontein Celtic), Lebo Ramalepe (Ma-Indies FC), Regina Mogolola (University Of Pretoria), Zanele Nhlapo (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Midfielders: Nompumelelo Nyandeni (JVW-FC), Leandra Smeda, Thembi Kgatlana (both Uwc Ladies), Refiloe Jane, Rachel Sebati (both TUT-PTA), Kholosa Biyana (Ukzn), Nkoikoi Mabina (Kanatla Ladies)

Strikers: Rhoda Mulaudzi (Mamelodi Sundowns), Chantelle Esau (Mamelodi Sundowns), Nwabisa Kolisi (City Lads)