Banyana hope to close the year on a high when they meet Japan in Fukuoka
Banyana Banyana play their first international since the embarrassing elimination by Botswana from the Olympic qualifiers and will be looking to close the year on a high when they meet Japan in Fukuoka at the weekend.
But the odds are not high on another South African success on Japanese soil this month.
Next Sunday’s friendly international is‚ however‚ a chance to gauge how much has been learnt in a busy year for Desiree Ellis’ side‚ who depart for the Far East from OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday – at just about the same time as Siya Kolisi and his heroes arrive back.
It will be the 20th international match of the year for the women’s national team‚ who participated for the first time at the women’s World Cup and won the Cosafa women’s championship in Port Elizabeth.
Their programme in 2019 included playing all the top nations‚ including three former world champions like Sweden‚ the US and Germany.
Japan won the women’s World Cup in 2011.
There is one uncapped player in the 22-strong squad - Lelona Daweti who plays for Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies and moves up from the U-20 national team.
Ellis has also recalled Thembi Kgatlana‚ Nomvula Kgoale‚ Linda Motlhalo‚ Ongeziwe Ndlangisa and Jessica Williams but must do without captain Janine van Wyk‚ who is still injured‚ as well as Karabo Dhlamini‚ Bongeka Gamede‚ Sibulele Holweni‚ Hilda Magaia and Amanda Mthandi‚ who are all busy with exams.
The new captain is ‚ AC Milan’s Refiloe Jane while Leandra Smeda‚ barring any last minute calamity‚ will earn her 100th cap.