Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana go into camp on Wednesday, February 20 to prepare for the Cyprus Women’s Cup which will take place from February 27 to March 6, 2019.
Of the players invited to camp, four of them namely Noko Matlou, Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Thembi Kgatlana and Refiloe Jane could reach huge milestones when they get to play at the tournament.
As the second highest capped player in the country after captain Janine van Wyk, defender Noko Matlou is just one match shy of the magical 150 caps, while midfielder Nompumelelo Nyandeni is three games away from that figure.
Nyandeni and Matlou made their debut for Banyana Banyana in 2002 and 2007 respectively. The latter was crowned CAF Women's Player of the Year in 2008 – the first South African to win the award, before being followed by striker Thembi Kgatlana earlier this year.
Van Wyk is the highest capped player – male and female – in the country with 161 games. The leading capped player in the men’s section is former Bafana Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena on 107.
Also set to celebrate a great achievement is vice captain Refiloe Jane who will in all likelihood clock up 100 games for her country.
The Australia-based midfielder has scored 12 goals for Banyana Banyana, including a brace in the final of the 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship held in Port Elizabeth to help her country retain the title they won in Zimbabwe a year earlier.
Kgatlana, the reigning CAF Woman Player of the Year 2018, could also reach her 50 by the time the Cyprus Women’s Cup is over as she is just three matches away. The Randfontein-based player was crowned the Most Valuable Player in the same tournament in 2018.
According to a report on safanet, the team will depart for Cyprus on Saturday, February 23 and will play their first match on Wednesday, February 27.
They have been drawn against Finland, Czech Republic and Korea DPR.
FACT FILE OF THE 4 PLAYERS:
Name: NOKO MATLOU
Club: MaIndies, Limpopo
Honours: 2008 COSAFA Champion, 2008 COSAFA Player of the Tournament, 2008 COSAFA Top goal scorer, 2008 SAFA Player of the Year and CAF Woman Player of the Year; 2012 SA Sportswoman Player of the Year; 2013 Sasol League top goal scorer; 2014 Minister’s Award for Excellence; 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games
Name: NOMPUMELELO NYANDENI
Club: JVW FC, Johannesburg
Honours: 2009 Sasol League Champion and Player of the Tournament, 2009 SAFA Player of the Year, 2010 Sasol League Player of the Tournament and Top Goal scorer, selected in 2010 to participate in “The 11 for Health FIFA Project aimed at improving health through football with 10 other players including Ronaldo, Messi and Drogba; 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games; 2009/10/12 CAF African Player of the Year Nominee
Name: REFILOE JANE
Club: Canberra United, Australia
Honours: 2013 Vaal University Sportswoman of the Year, 2017 TUT-PTA Sportswoman of the Year, 2017 TUT Sports Director’s Award, 2016 Gauteng Sports Woman of the Year Award
Name: THEMBI KGATLANA
Club: Houston Dash, USA
Honours: 2014 Ballon D’Or Award Winner HPC, 2015 UWC Sportswoman of the Year, 2016 Olympian, 2016 Special Recognition Award from UWC, 2017 COSAFA Player of the Tournament, 2017 UWC Sportswoman of the Year UWC, 2017 CAF Player of the Year Nominee, 2018 Cyprus Cup Most Valuable Player of the Tournament, 2018 AFCON Top Goal scorer, 2018 CAF Woman Player of the Year and 2018 Goal of the Year award.