It is bound to be a double challenge for Nigeria and South Africa as both clash on two continental platforms on the same weekend.
While the Super Eagles are away to Bafana Bafana in Johannesburg on Saturday November 17, in the frame of Africa Cup of Nations qualifying series, their women counterparts will the next day also slug it out in Ghana at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
The Super Falcons have almost consistently beaten South Africa’s Banyana Banyana. But the South African skipper, Janine Van Wyk has remarked that the team plans to do better when the competition begins in Ghana.
The situation for them is further compounded by the fact that another powerhouse in the continent, Equatorial Guinea, has just been reinstated in the group, making Group B, a ‘group of death’.
Janine Van Wyk, addressing the media in a video uploaded by SAFA.net, remarked that the competition in Ghana was a major opportunity for the South Africans to qualify for the Women’s World Cup. She believed that the team had the quality players that can deliver the ticket.
Meanwhile, the head coach of the team, Desiree Ellis, has announced a squad of 21 players. She has selected the bulk of the squad that has been with Banyana Banyana for a long period of time.
The squad also shows a lot of experience with most of the players having taken part in the Women’s AFCON tournament before.
Ellis has also called up two uncapped players – Amanda Mthandi (University of Johannesburg) and Tiisetso Makhubela (Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies).
“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,” said Ellis.
The former Banyana Banyana captain has also selected four players to be on stand-by – Kholosa Biyana, Rachel Sebati, Thato Letsoso and Hilda Magaia.
The quartet will travel with the squad to Ghana and return to South Africa after the international friendly match that will be played in Accra on Sunday, 11 November.
Banyana Banyana have been drawn in Group B against defending champions Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia.
South Africa will open her account with a clash against the Super Falcons on 18 November, followed by an encounter against Kenya three days later (21 November). Both matches will be played at Cape Coast.
For the final match, Ellis and her charges will travel to the capital Accra to face Zambia on 24 November.
South Africa will be making their 12th appearance at the tournament.
The squad has been in camp since Sunday, 21 October, and will travel to Ghana on Friday.