Hosts South Africa will “give our best” at the COSAFA Women’s Under-20 Championship as they arrived in Nelson Mandela Bay ahead of the inaugural regional showpiece event.
Basetsana, as the side is affectionately known, will hold two training sessions on Monday as coach Simphiwe Dludlu drills the players ahead of Thursday’s opener against Zimbabwe on Thursday.
“We are here to give our best,” said Dludlu. “We have put together a youthful but experienced team and can only expect them to give their best performance for a group that last played together last year.”
That ‘experience’ comes from the fact that many players in the squad featured at the 2018 FIFA Women’s Under-17 World Cup in Uruguay and have now been elevated up an age-group. Dludlu was the coach of that side and so will know many of the players in the squad as she looks to hit the ground running.
“I believe we can bring joy to the heart of South Africans during this first-ever COSAFA U20 Championships on home soil. “I have called up the majority of the Under-17 squad because they are the players who will graduate to the U20 team.
“This tournament can assist in fast-tracking their development, while getting them more international caps.” South Africa will also take on Namibia on Saturday and Mozambique next Monday as they seek to be among the top two teams in the pool and advance to the semi-final stage.
Dludlu, a former Banyana Banyana star, is still only 31 and so will be one of the youngest coaches in Nelson Mandela Bay, but a sign too of the new wave of modern coaches coming through in the game.
South Africa squad
Goalkeepers: Kaydee Windvogel (High-Performance Centre), Leigh Brophy (University of Cape Town), Jessica Williams (Spurs FC)
Defenders: Lonathemba Mhlongo (Durban Ladies), Lebohang Ntabeni (Wits), Tyler-Bree Joss (Tuks), Fikile Magama (Dangerous Heroes United), Karabo Makhurubetsi (University of Johannesburg), Ayanda Ncube (Wits)
Midfielders: Oratile Mokwena (Mamelodi Sundowns F.C), Zethembiso Vilakazi (Lindelani F.C), Miche Minnies (Spurs FC), Sphumelele Shamase (Sunflower F.C), Thubelihle Shamase (Sunflower F.C), Ember Edwards (Burnley Ladies FCV), Serenity Warner (University of Cape Town), Jessica Wade (JVW FC)
Strikers: Kirsten Nolan (University of Johannesburg), Refilwe Maseko (University of Johannesburg), Shakira Jacobs (University of Johannesburg)