local soccer 14.7.2016 06:50 pm

Pauw names Banyana squad for Rio Olympics

FILE PICTURE: Banyana coach Vera Pauw (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

FILE PICTURE: Banyana coach Vera Pauw (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Banyana Banyana head coach Vera Pauw has announced the names of 22 players who will represent South Africa at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games which kick off early next month.

Pauw has kept the bulk of the team that has done duty for the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana since the Olympic qualifiers.

Only 18 plus four additional players have been called for Brazil.

From the squad that travelled to the USA last week, three players have been left out – defenders Lebobang Mabatle and Lerato Kgasago as well midfielder Silindile Ngubane.

This is a further three from the squad that travelled to Holland where Bongiwe Thusi, Mapaseka Mpuru and Rhoda Mulaudzi did not make the cut.

Pauw belives admits it was not easy to name the final 22.

“It has been a long journey for the entire team, some of the players have been with us since the qualifiers for the Olympics, but unfortunately I can only take 22.

“We had to look at the balance of the team and I believe we have made the right choice. It was not an easy decision to make though as any of the those who are not going to Rio had as much of a chance as those who are in,” said Pauw.

“But I have confidence that the squad we have selected will represent us well in Brazil. We did well in the three games we played recently – two against The Netherlands and one against the USA – and this has given me hope that we can make our mark at the Olympics. At this stage, the only thing left is for the South Africans to be behind this team as that will further boost our confidence.”

There are 18 players who are officially selected to play in the Games, with a further additional four who will be on stand-by. They will travel with the squad but are not eligible to play unless there is an injury among the 18.

The additional players are goalkeeper Kaylin Swart, defender Nomathemba Ntsibande, midfielder Thembi Kgatlana and striker Chantell Esau.

Pauw also has a wealth of experience in her side as ten of the players selected for 2016 Rio were part of the squad that went to the 2012 London Olympic Games – Roxanne Barker (28 caps), Nothando Vilakazi (86), Janine van Wyk (131), Noko Matlou (124), Leandra Smeda (60), Amanda Dlamini (100 – she was the captain in London), Refiloe Jane (62), Nompumelelo Nyandeni (125), Robyn Moodaly (14) and Sanah Mollo (69) – all have 924 caps between them.

The South African Football Association has wished the team well in their campaign in Brazil.

Banyana Banyana have been drawn in Group E against Sweden, China and hosts Brazil.

Banyana Banyana fixtures:

Wednesday, August 3
Sweden vs South Africa
Olympic Stadium
6pm SA time

Saturday, August 6
South Africa vs China
Olympic Stadium
midnight SA time

Tuesday, August 9
South Africa vs Brazil
Amazonia Arena (Manaus)
2am Wednesday, Aug 10 SA time

Banyana squad:

Goalkeepers: 1 Roxanne Kimberly Barker, 16 Andile Dlamini
Defenders: 3 Nothando Vilakazi, 5 Janine Van Wyk, 4 Noko Matlou, 13 Bambanani Mbane, 17 Leandra Smeda
Midfielders: 6 Mamello Makhabane, 9 Amanda Dlamini, 15 Refiloe Jane, 18 Nompumelelo Nyandeni, 10 Linda Motlhalo, 7 Stephanie Malherbe, 8 Robyn Moodaly
Strikers: 2 Lebohang Ramalepe, 14. Sanah Mollo, 11 Shiwe Nogwanya, 12 Jermaine Seoposenwe

Additional players: 22 Kaylin Swart (goalkeeper), 19 Nomathemba Ntsibande (defender), 20 Thembi Kgatlana, (midfielder), 21 Chantelle Esau (striker)

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