Return of injured players a boost to Banyana

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pretoria - Banyana Banyana are expecting their five injured players - goalkeeper Thoko Mndaweni, Janine van Wyk, Yola Jafta, Mamello Makhabane and Jermaine Seopesenwe - to be back for their All Africa Games qualifier against Botswana.

Banyana will go into camp in Rustenburg on Sunday before leaving for Botswana next Thursday afternoon. The second leg of the All Africa Games qualifier match will be played on May 15.

The match will be played on an artificial surface at the Molepole stadium. Kick-off is at 3pm. The South Africans are trailing 1-0 after the first leg encounter played in Polokwane last weekend.

Mndaweni, the heroine in saving a penalty to allow Banyana to beat Tunisia 6-5 on penalties in Tunis last month, has recovered from a leg injury.

Van Wyk, who missed the match in Polokwane due to illness, returns to the 18-strong squad, along with Makhabane who has regained fitness after suffering from a leg injury.

Both van Wyk and Makhabane will be looking to produce their best form, something sorely needed as well by their club, which is the current Sasol League National champions, the Palace Super Falcons.

The Rabie Ridge-based team find themselves three points behind log-leaders Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies, but with three matches in hand.

Holding midfielder Mary Ntsweng, who plays for Mphahlele Ladies (Sasol League Limpopo), makes a long-awaited return to the national team.

Another major boost for the team is the return of the speedy attacker Jermaine Seopesenwe.

The Mitchells Plain-based Santos FC (Sasol League Western Cape) teenage sensation will put her school books aside for a week to help her national team-mates reverse the score line from Polokwane.

Seopesenwe adapted to top flight international football in superb fashion when given the chance during Banyana's bronze medal-winning showing at the CAF African Women Championship 2010, held in Ekurhuleni last November.

This was just days after she and her 16-year-old Banyana midfield team mate, Robyn Moodaly, had represented Bantwana (SA girls under 17 team) at the FIFA under 17 Girls World Cup held in the Caribbean.