Excited Sundowns Ladies coaches speak as six players make World Cup Squad

The coaches of Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies have expressed their delight at the inclusion of six Masandawana players in the final 23-member squad who will represent South Africa at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The tournament is set to be hosted in Australia and New Zealand starting next month.

The selected players — Andile Dlamini, Karabo Dhlamini, Lebogang Ramalepe, Tiisetso Makhubela, Bambanani Mbane and Melinda Kgadiete — will proudly don the Banyana Banyana jersey as the current African women champions compete in their second-ever World Cup following their debut appearance in France in 2019.

Coach Jerry ‘Kappa’ Tshabalala firmly believes that the selected players have earned their call-up to the final squad based on their exceptional performances throughout the season.

“The inclusion of these players is well-deserved, given their consistent performances in the Hollywoodbets Super League. Melinda Kgadiete, in particular, has been exceptional as one of the top scorers this season, netting an impressive 12 goals so far. Bambanani Mbane has also showcased her versatility by excelling in various positions, including central midfield. Credit must be given to each of them for their impressive form leading up to the World Cup tournament,” Coach Jerry stated.

Five of the six players called up will be participating in their second World Cup, except for Kgadiete. Kappa firmly believes that the experience these players bring will greatly benefit the Banyana Banyana team.

“Having experienced players heading into a major tournament is always advantageous. Many of these players have not only participated in the previous World Cup but have also played in the Olympics and COSAFA tournaments. Moreover, they played pivotal roles in our victories in the CAF Champions League two years ago and the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations last year. These accomplishments showcase their strong mentality, resilience and ability to perform at the highest level. Undoubtedly, their experience and winning mindset will significantly contribute to the overall performance and success of the Banyana Banyana team in the upcoming World Cup,” concluded Coach Tshabalala.

Goalkeeper Coach Koketso Tshabalala has urged the selected players to showcase their abilities as they prepare to compete Down Under in the World Cup.

“As these players join their teammates in competing against some of the best women’s teams across the world, I have full confidence that they will give their best. Andile possesses a great heart and excellent communication skills. Her experience, combined with her ability to play with her feet, adds immense value to the team. Rama is a clever and speedy winger who brings a strategic edge to attacking plays. Bamba is known for her strength and fearlessness in one-on-one situations and will provide a formidable presence on the field. Similarly, Bastos is a strong defender who excels in reading high balls and dominating aerial duels. Karabo boasts a commanding presence in the air and contributes both defensively and offensively. Finally, Melinda, our very own Themba Zwane, is a highly intelligent player whose next move is unpredictable and world-class. As a nation, we are standing firmly behind them every step of the way,” Coach Koketso stated.

Coach Desiree’s side has been drawn in Group G, alongside Sweden, Italy and Argentina. Banyana Banyana will kick off their tournament against Sweden on 23 July at the Wellington Regional Stadium. They will then face Argentina on 28 July, followed by their last group match against Italy on 2 August.

The upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup is scheduled to take place from July 20 to August 20, 2023.

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