Banyana coach Vera Pauw: Tough calls for Rio Olympic squad

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

“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 onces 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.”

Eighteen players have been selected to compete in the Games, with a further four 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 10 of the players selected for 2016 Rio were part of the squad that went to the 2012 London Olympic Games.They are: 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).

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

“First of all congratulations to the selected players, we know it has been a long journey and the wait is finally over as you get ready to represent South Africa in Brazil. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Sasol for all the assistance they have given this team to be where they are at the moment. Watching this team play against The Netherlands last month and just recently against the USA gave us a glimpse of what to expect in Rio. A lot of strides have been made and we are confident they will not disappoint. We can only wish them luck and hope they fly the flag high. Go out there and give your all, that is all we can ask of you,” said SAFA president Danny Jordaan.


GOALKEEPERS
 
Jersey No:                          Name:                                                  Caps:            Goals:

1.                               Roxanne Kimberly Barker **                         28                  0

16.                             Andile Dlamini                                               19                   0

DEFENDERS
                         
 3.                              Nothando Vilakazi  **                                     86                   5

5.                               Janine Van Wyk  **                                         131                 11

4.                               Noko Matlou  **                                              124                 63

13.                             Bambanani Mbane                                            2                    0

17.                             Leandra Smeda  **                                            60                 13

MIDFIELDERS

6.                               Mamello Makhabane                                          71                18

9.                              Amanda Dlamini **                                             100              24

15.                            Refiloe Jane **                                                      62                5

18.                            Nompumelelo Nyandeni **                                  125             38

10.                            Linda Motlhalo                                                      8                 3

7.                              Stephanie Malherbe                                               7                 0

8.                              Robyn Moodaly **                                                14               2

STRIKERS

2.                              Lebohang Ramalepe                                                27             1

14.                            Sanah Mollo **                                                       69              21

11.                            Shiwe Nogwanya                                                    28               4

12.                           Jermaine Seoposenwe                                              41              10

ADDITIONAL PLAYERS

22.                           Kaylin Swart (GOALKEEPER)                                0                 0

19.                           Nomathemba Ntsibande (DEFENDER)                   36                4

20.                           Thembi Kgatlana (MIDFIELDER)                           14                0

21.                           Chantelle Esau (STRIKER)                                       22               4

** WERE AT THE 2012 LONDON OLYMPICS

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