Desiree Ellis has called on no fewer than eight Mamelodi Sundowns’ players for the upcoming test game against Zambia which is a preparatory fixture in the quest for places at the TotalEnergies Africa Women’s Cup of Nations, Morocco 2022.
Andile Dlamini, Karabo Makhurubetshi, Bambanani Mbane, Thalea Smidt, Oratile Mokwena, Lelona Daweti, Melinda Kgadiete and Rhoda Mulaudzi have all been included in the 25-woman provisional squad, the latter for the first time since missing the first round tie with Mozambique last October.
The eight players were pivotal in Sundowns’ remarkable success in 2021, winning a historic treble, including the maiden TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League triumph in Egypt in November.
There were also five JVW players, including captain Janine Van Wyk and Sweden based striker Hildah Magaia as the only foreign based star in the list comprising of four goalkeepers, eight defenders, seven midfielders and six forwards.
The South Africans will try their Zambian counterparts for size in a friendly in a 2021 COSAFA Women’s Championship third place rematch on February 12 in Lusaka and Ellis has shared the motives behind her squad selection.
“We have decided to call up local players for the first round of camp to ensure that our database continues to grow and that any newly selected players find their rhythm now,” said the two-time CAF Women’s Coach of the Year.
“This is to give new players the know how in case they are needed in subsequent matches. We have also included, in this coming camp, international Hilda Magaia.
“She is still in the country as she has not yet returned to her Swedish club, Moron BK. Also called up is Bongeka Gamede from the University of the Western Cape, but might not make it as she is struggling with a niggling injury.”
Banyana Banyana will face Algeria in the final round of the qualifiers, while Zambia will slug it out with COSAFA rivals Namibia in the bid for places at the continent showpiece next month.
South Africa will host the Algerians at home on 18 February 2022, before traveling for the reserve fixture with the North Africans on 23 February 2022.