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Swart: Banyana can shock at Cyprus Cup

Swart

Newly appointed head coach of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana, Desiree Ellis has the full compliment of her squad for the Cyprus Women’s Cup following the arrival of goalkeeper Kaylin Swart and midfielder Zanele Nhlapho in Cyprus.

Swart flew in from the United States of America where she is studying, while Nhlapho is a late call-up after the withdrawal of Kholosa Biyana early last week.

Port Elizabeth-born Swart is studying sports management and marketing, and will be graduating in May.

Banyana Banyana will face Slovakia, Hungary and South Korea in the competition, the 11th edition of the tournament, which runs from 26 February to 7 March 2018.

The South African delegation arrived in Cyprus on Saturday and held a light training session in the evening.

Swart missed the session, but is optimistic about Banyana Banyana’s chances in the tournament.

‘I’m excited about the tournament. We’ve been here a couple of times before and we know what to expect. We have a very good squad, with a strong mindset and we know what we are playing for, and I believe we can compete and have a very good run. We have a good chance of doing well. I have been before, but never got a chance to play, so we have a bit of experience when it comes to this tournament. I believe we’ll shock a couple of teams because we know what we can do,’ said Swart.

‘We should use this tournament as a stepping stone for the hectic year ahead. If we want to conquer the world we have to start at home. We definitely want to go to France for the World Cup and this year is going to be a crazy one. We have to do the best we can in every competition, use all the positives to our advantage and I believe we have what it takes to get to the top.’

South Africa’s first match is a clash against Slovakia on Wednesday with kick-off at 1pm.

Next up is Hungary on Friday (6pm), with South Korea being the last in the group stages on Monday (1pm).

‘No game will be easy, they’re all good opponents and we are looking forward to the challenge because we are all excited to be back in camp and playing for our country. We have to go into every game with a winning mentality and show what we are capable of,’ added Swart.

Swart, who was in goals for the 3-1 loss to Sweden in Cape Town last month, will have to battle it out with Andile Dlamini and Roxanne Barker.

‘The good thing is that we have three strong goalkeepers and we have a healthy relationship. We compliment each other big time because we all have different strong points, giving the coaching staff a wonderful headache. All we have to do is work hard and leave the selection to them,’ said Swart.

The goalkeeper returns to the US immediately after the tournament and will be travelling with the Houston Dash-bound trio of Janine van Wyk and recent signings, Linda Motlhalo and Thembi Kgatlana.

‘I’m excited about their (Linda and Thembi’s) move. This is very good for women’s football in South Africa, and they are all more deserving. They’re excellent players, and with Janine there as their mentor, they’ll do well. If every year we have one or two players going abroad, this will only help Banyana Banyana in the long run – then we will have far better players. I hope they take their chances and make the most of it,’ concluded Swart.


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