Banyana Banyana's preliminary 2023 Women's World Cup squad announced

Banyana Banyana's preliminary 2023 Women's World Cup squad announced

Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis has announced the initial 36-member squad for the upcoming 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.

From this pool, the final squad of 23 players (along with three standby players) will be selected to represent South Africa in the tournament taking place in Australia and New Zealand from July 20 to August 20.

The defending champions of the Women's Africa Cup of Nations will convene in Johannesburg on June 12 for an intensive training camp, providing each player with an opportunity to impress the coach and secure their place in the ultimate team.

Notably adorned with the esteemed National Order of Ikhamanga, an honor bestowed upon her by the South African government for her outstanding contributions to soccer, Ellis openly acknowledged the significant challenge she encountered in selecting the preliminary squad.

"It's most probably one of the most difficult selections I've ever had to make," Ellis told SAFA's official website.

"As a coach you always say players must raise their hand and make it difficult. And it has been very difficult (selecting the preliminary squad).

"Congratulations to the players that have made the preliminary squad. We are always saying players must raise their hands, and many of them have raised the hands. But this is the group of players that we think we can select from and they have raised their hands.

"We are going to do a final selection, as well as announce the final 23 plus three (standby players). That is even going to be more difficult, but this is the group of players that we think will do the job for us."

Preliminary 2023 World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: Andile Dlamini, Kaylin Swart, Regirl Ngobeni, Kebotseng Moletsane, Asa Rabalao

Defenders: Asande Hadebe, Karabo Dhlamini, Fikile Magama, Cimone Sauls, Lebohang Ramalepe, Tiisetso Makhubela, Lonathemba Mhlongo, Noko Matlou, Bambani Mbane, Bongeka Gamede

Midfielders: Thubelihle Shamase, Kholosa Biyana, Thalea Smidt, Refiloe Jane, Sibulele Holweni, Linda Motlhalo, Robyn Moodaly, Amogelang Motau

Forwards: Nicole Michael, Gabriela Salgado, Sphumelele Shamase, Jermaine Seoposenwe, Noxolo Cesane, Melinda Kgadiete, Nthabiseng Majiya, Lelona Daweti, Wendy Shongwe, Ntombifikile Ndlovu, Hildah Magaia, Thembi Kgatlana

Banyana Banyana World Cup fixtures (Group G)

23 July: Sweden v Banyana Banyana, Wellington Regional Stadium, New Zealand

28 July: Argentina v Banyana Banyana, Forsyth Barr Stadium, New Zealand

02 August: Banyana Banyana v Italy, Wellington Regional Stadium, New Zealand