Banyana Banyana coach faced with hard task of selecting World Cup squad

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Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis admits that it will not be easy for her to select her final squad for next month’s FIFA Women’s World Cup. Ellis is expected to trim her initial squad of 36 to the required 23 players on the eve of the tournament.

The team is currently in camp in Johannesburg to prepare for the World Cup. Twenty-nine locally based players have been in camp from the onset.

They were joined by overseas based veteran defender Noko Matlou on Thursday morning. Ellis says the biggest task facing her is to drop 13 players from the initial squad.

“I would say honestly choosing the 36 was probably one of the most difficult things I had to do since becoming the coach of the team. Players have gotten better, the league has gotten better, it’s not where we want it to be but the league has gotten better and there’s many good players out there. Cutting the squad from 36 to 23 is going to be even more difficult, it’s unfortunate that I cannot take everyone because everyone who is here is a good player but we can only take 23.”

Ellis says she has been having sleepless nights over the selection: 

The players are keeping their fingers crossed to make the final cut. Senior player and keeper, Kylan Swart is aiming for her second World Cup in a row.

“We have one week left to prove ourselves and I think by the second week the coach will know exactly who is it that she wants on the roster of 23, so, yes we are excited but we are anxious because we obviously don’t know the outcome of what the squad will be like and everyone will just give everything just to make sure that they have that upper hand just to make that squad.”