Banyana Banyana wasted no time in fine-tuning their Cyprus Women’s Cup preparations as they literally stepped off the aeroplane and on to the training field on the Eastern Mediterranean island late Saturday afternoon.
The Sasol-sponsored South African squad will be participating in the annual 12-team tournament which has attracted participants from around the world but mainly Europe.
Newly-appointed Banyana coach Desiree Ellis worked out with a squad of 19 players instead of the 21 that were called up.
Midfielder Kholosa Biyana from the University of KZN has withdrawn due to an injury, and Zanele Nhlapho has taken her place.
Goalkeeper Kaylin Swart is flying in from the USA, and like Nhlapho are expected to arrive later on Sunday.
Also joining the team in Cyprus will be Under- 20 Men’s National Team coach Thabo Senong, who was in Holland for a coaching course. He and Under-17 Men’s National Team coach Molefi Ntseki will work as technical advisers to Ellis during the Cyprus Cup.
Banyana Banyana have been drawn in Group C alongside Hungary, Slovakia as well as Korea DPR. It is the only side from the African continent and will be making their sixth appearance at the tournament, which runs from 26 February to 7 March 2018.
Banyana Banyana will face Slovakia in their opening match on Wednesday.