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Productive camp for Banyana ahead of French clash

The Banyana Banyana women’s team are hard at work in camp ahead of next Sunday’s international friendly clash against France on Reunion Island.

Kick-off is at 7pm South African time and the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana squad departs for Reunion Islands on Thursday.

But there’s some injury concerns for the national senior team who wlll be without goalkeeper Roxanne Barker and midfielder Nompumelelo Nyandeni, both withdrawn as they are nursing injuries.

Barker was part of the team that travelled to Cameroon for the CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations where she was withdrawn after injuring her toe at training. Nyandeni missed the final of the 2016 Sasol League National Championship for her club JVW FC in December due to a troublesome knee, but had recovered.

‘Mpumi picked up an injury a few days ago after training, before we reported for the national team camp – she felt a pain in the knee and came in to have an assessment, but unfortunately it doesn’t look good for her to be part of the squad,’ said Desiree Ellis, Banyana Banyana interim head coach.

‘She will, however, be coming to training with us so we can help with her rehabilitation, adding on what she will be doing on her own at home.

‘Roxanne has recovered from her toe injury but is not yet fit to play in a match, and her club has advised that she not travel for the match against France. Together with the technical team we are working on the names to replace the two players who have withdrawn.’

Ellis was happy with what she saw at the training camp. ‘I think it went reasonably well for our first training session, considering we have just come back from a festive break.

‘They were really enjoying themselves and didn’t want to stop – but the aim on the first day was to get the muscles going and just to give them a bit of a run, and they looked good. The focus was mainly on the finishing and it looked very encouraging,’ added Ellis.

‘We gave all the players a training programme to kickstart their year with (from 4  January until the start of camp), and from what we saw at training they followed it because they looked sharp. Everybody was motivated and that is a good sign.’

The French national team is ranked third in the world and second behind Germany, while South Africa is ranked fourth on the continent and 48th in the world.

France and South Africa will be meeting for the second time since 2009 when the Europeans won 3-2.


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