Boost for Banyana ahead of Tunisia clash

Friday, April 1, 2011
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - Banyana Banyana's push to get maximum points in their first leg Olympic qualifier match against Tunisia has been dealt a significant boost with the return of foreign based midfielders, Nompumelelo Nyandeni and Kylie Ann Louw. 

Banyana fans would also be delighted to hear that no-nonsense central defender; Janine van Wyk, is fully recovered from her injury and will be ready for the encounter at King Zwelithini stadium in Umlazi, near Durban, tomorrow. The match is scheduled to kick-off at 1pm. 

Banyana will have fond memories of the stadium, having managed to beat Zambia 3-nil in January earlier this year, and will be hoping that their strikers will again find the target in order to take a healthy goal advantage to the return leg in Tunisia on April 17.

Banyana caretaker coach, Joseph Mkhonza and his technical team put the 24-member squad through intensive training in Durban this week, and have trimmed the group to 18 players for Saturday's key encounter.

Apart from the return of experienced midfielders in Russian-based Nyandeni and USA-based Louw, and the inclusion of van Wyk - who missed Banyana Banyana's 2-1 win over Namibia in an international friendly in Upington - Mkhonza will be looking to strikers Noko Matlou and skipper Amanda Dlamini to pressurise the Tunisian defence.

Also back in the squad is teenage midfield sensation, Jermaine Seopesenwe, who missed the last match due to school exams. 

Seopesenwe, who plays for Sasol League Western Cape log-leaders Cape Town Roses, adds a great element of speed to the Banyana attacking formation.

Mkhonza has also given first-time-on-the-Banyana-bench opportunities to Sundowns Ladies goalkeeper Andile Dlamini and Durban Ladies midfielder Memory Makhanya. 

The national squad has a strong KwaZulu-Natal flavour with defender Makhanya's team mate, Zama Cele returning to the squad list.

With a 100 percent winning record in his four matches since taking charge of Banyana, Mkhonza said: "The King Zwelithini Stadium is a super place to play football, and our thanks must go to our team sponsor Sasol, as well as the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government, who have allowed for this match to take place here in Durban, and Sport and Recreation SA, who assist in funding Banyana Banyana's training camps. 

"We would also like to say thank you to the South African Football Association for all the support. The spirit in the camp is high and I hope that the people come out in great numbers to cheer the team on, like they did when we beat Zambia here in January." 

Banyana players are goal keepers Thoko Mndaweni, Andile Dlamini, defender Janine van Wyk, Nothando Vilakazi, Yola Jafta, Amanda Sister, Simphiwe Masina, Robyn Moodaly, Nomathemba Nsibande, Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Kylie Ann Louw, Amanda Dlamini, Noko Matlou, Zama Cele, Jermaine Seoposenwe, Nocawe Skiti, Memory Makhanya and Gabisile Hlumbane. - BuaNews