Women’s AFCON 2018: South Africa, Nigeria reveal star-studded squads

By Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam, AIPS Young Reporter, Nigeria

PORT HARCOURT, November 7, 2018 – Head coach of South Africa’s Banyana Banyana, Desiree Ellis on Wednesday confirmed her squad of 21 players that will look to make the country proud at the 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana from 17 November to 1 December.

With a captain who has over 150 caps to her name in Janine van Wyk and a former Africa Women’s Player of the Year in Noko Matlou, the squad is not lacking in experience as it sets sights on a first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup qualification. Van Wyk played her first Women’s AFCON in 2006, Matlou has featured in every Women’s AFCON since 2008. Then there is also Nompumelelo Nyandeni.

In her selection, coach Ellis kept faith with players that have been a part of the Banyana Banyana squad for a long period of time, while also giving two uncapped players (Amanda Mthandi and Tiisetso Makhubela) an opportunity to kick-start their senior national team journey.

Ellis told SAFA.net: “It was a difficult task to pin down the final 21 players as they all raised their hands to show how much they want to be part of this magnificent team. But I am confident that the players we have chosen will do the business for South Africa. Too many times we have close to winning the tournament and I think with the preparations we have had, we feel ready for the competition.”

Four other players have been kept on stand-by. The quartet of Kholosa Biyana, Rachel Sebati, Thato Letsoso and Hilda Magaia will travel with the main squad to Ghana on 9 November and return to South Africa after the international friendly match that will be played in Accra on Sunday, 11 November.

South Africa are in Group B of the 2018 Women’s AFCON and will play against defending champions Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia.

The women’s football showpiece will also serve as qualifiers for the 2019 FIFA Women World Cup in France and only the top three nations will qualify.

FULL SQUAD

1. Andile DLAMINI (Mamelodi Sundowns FC)

2. Kaylin SWART (Menlo College/Awaiting Int Transfer)

3. Roxanne BARKER (University of Western Cape)

4. Lebogang RAMALEPE (Ma-Indies FC)

5. Nothando VILAKAZI (Palace Super Falcons FC)

6. Janine VAN WYK (Houston Dash/Awaiting Int Transfer)

7. Noko MATLOU (Ma-Indies FC)

8. Bambanani MBANE (Bloemfontein Celtic FC)

9. Tiisetso MAKHUBELA (Mamelodi Sundowns FC)

10. Koketso TLAILANE (TUT-PTA)

11. Kgaelebane MOHLAKOANA (Bloemfontein Celtic)

12. Mamello MAKHABANE (JVW FC)

13. Leandra SMEDA (Gintra Universitetas)

14. Nompumelelo NYANDENI (JVW FC)

15. Linda MOTLHALO (Houston Dash)

16. Busisiwe NDIMENI (TUT-PTA)

17. Refiloe JANE (Canberra United)

18. Jermaine SEOPOSENWE (JVW FC)

19. Thembi KGATLANA (Houston Dash)

20. Melinda KGADIETE (Bloemfontein Celtic)

21. Amanda MTHANDI (University of Johannesburg)

NIGERIA – Head coach of the Nigeria Women’s National Team, Thomas Dennerby has on Wednesday unveiled a squad dominated by foreign-based stars for the 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations which begins on 17 November.

The eight-time African champions will open their campaign for a record-extending ninth title against familiar foes, Banyana Banyana on 18 November.

Reigning African Women’s Player of the Year, Asisat Oshoala, who recently won the Chinese Women’s Super League title with Dalian Quanjian, headlines the final list of 21, which also includes US-based Francisca Ordega and France-based Desire Oparanozie.

Meanwhile Chiamaka Nnadozie, who won the hearts of many during the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in France this year and her teammate Rasheedat Ajibade will be making their Women’s AFCON debut.

The Super Falcons are currently in Abidjan for an eight –day final camping after which they will depart for Ghana on Wednesday, 14th November.

FULL SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Tochukwu Oluehi (Rivers Angels); Christy Ohiaeriaku (Confluence Queens); Chiamaka Nnadozie (Rivers Angels)

Defenders: Glory Ogbonna (Ibom Angels); Sarah Nnodim (Nasarawa Amazons); Ngozi Ebere (Barcelona FC, Cyprus); Faith Michael (Pitea IF, Sweden); Onome Ebi (Henan Huisanhang, China); Osinachi Ohale (Vaxjo DFF, Sweden); Josephine Chukwunonye (Asarum AIF, Sweden)

Midfielders: Amarachi Okoronkwo (Nasarawa Amazons); Ngozi Okobi (Eskiltuna UTD, Sweden); Rita Chikwelu (Krstianstand DFF, Sweden); Halimat Ayinde (Asarum AIF, Sweden)

Forwards: Anam Imo (Nasarawa Amazons); Rasheedat Ajibade (FC Robo Queens); Asisat Oshoala (Dalian Quanjian, China); Francisca Ordega (Washington Spirit, USA); Desire Oparanozie (En Avant Guingamp, France); Chinaza Uchendu (SC Braga, Portugal); Chinwendu Ihezuo (Biik Kazygurt, Kazakhstan)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *