Banyana Banyana ready to defend COSAFA title

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Janine Van Wyk (Getty Images)
Janine Van Wyk (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Banyana Banyana will start the defence of their COSAFA Women’s Championship crown against the Comoros Islands in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, July 31.

Kick-off is at 15:30.

This southern African football tournament gives coach Desiree Ellis and her team a chance to win silverware on home soil after having it tough at the World Cup in France recently.

However, Banyana will be without their overseas-based players due to the tournament not being part of the FIFA calendar.

Ellis says it’s nevertheless a chance for fringe players and new call-ups to stake a claim ahead of Olympic qualifiers coming up.

She has called on the local community to support the tournament and she wants them to return home with smiles on their faces in terms of positive results from her side.

"We have had to make changes to the squad due to the unavailability of the overseas players,” Ellis said.

"While we would have loved to have everyone available, this also gives a chance to other players to stake their claim in the squad, hence the three new caps in Priscilla (Pesa), Shange (Sthembile) and Noxolo (Cesane).

"Also bear in mind that we are in the new Olympics 2020 and 2023 World Cup cycle, and the COSAFA Cup serves as preparations for the 2020 Olympic qualifier against Botswana at the end of August - so this works in our favour to try out other players and see just how much talent we have going forward.”

Banyana Banyana also have Malawi and Madagascar in Group A.

Group B comprises Zambia, Namibia, Mauritius and Botswana.

Croup C contains Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola and Eswatini.

The top team in each pool and the best second-placed finisher will advance to the semi-finals of the tournament, which runs until August 11.

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