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By Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

Football Journalist

Banyana coach Ellis plots to beat DRC in Olympic qualifiers

The Banyana coach seems to have been studied their opponents going into this clash.

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis says keeping it tight the back in the first leg of the Caf Olympics qualifiers against Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will be crucial for her team when the nations meet at Stade des Marthys in Kinshasa on Wednesday, 24 October. 

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Ellis on Thursday named a 24-member squad that will play the DRC in this crucial encounter.

The Banyana coach seems to have been studied their opponents going into this clash.

“We also know what their strengths are, and we have to make sure that we take control of the game. I think the first 20 minutes will be key, and we have to make sure we do not concede,” said the Banyana mentor. 

The Olympics qualifiers game will also serve as the last call-up for former Banyana captain Janine van Wyk, who announced that she will be hanging up her boots after many years of playing football. 

Van Wyk has played over 180 games for Banyana. 

Her commitment and determination for the team earned her praises from Ellis.

The Banyana coach described the defender as someone who never gives up and played a huge role in elevating women’s football in the country. 

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“Janine has led the team with aplomb for so many years and she did it while wearing her heart on her sleeve. I used to say that if I had 10 Janines on the pitch…she was someone that never gave up and that still resonates in the national team, of never giving up,” Ellis continued. 

“If you look at what Janine has done, not just for the national team, but for women’s football in the country, I think it is only fair that she gets her flowers.”

The return of the Olympics qualifier between Banyana and the DRC will be on 31 October at the Orlando Stadium.

Banyana full squad:

Goalkeepers: Andile Dlamini, Kaylin Swart, Katlego Moletsane

Defenders: Karabo Dhlamini, Fikile Magama, Janine van Wyk, Faith Nokuthula, Asanda Hadebe, Tiiesetso Makhubela, Lonathemba Mhlongo, Bongeka Gamede

Midfielders: Linda Motlhalo, Kholosa Biyana, Nomvula Kgoale, Amogelang Motau, Ayesha Moosa

Forwards: Nicole Michael, Gabriela Salgado, Noxolo Cesane, Melinda Kgadiete, Wendy Shongwe, Hilda Magaia, Thembi Kgatlana, Samkelisiwe Selana, Jermaine Seoposenwe

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