A dream has come true for High Performance Centre’s teenage central defender Meagan Newman. She has been called up to train with the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana squad at the national training camp which starts in Potchefstroom on Thursday.
ÔÇ£Right now, I am more nervous than excited knowing that I have been given this wonderful opportunity to train with such a bunch of experienced Banyana Banyana players at the national training camp in Potchefstroom,ÔÇØ said the 17-year-old Newman, who has been capped seven times for the national Under-20 side. ÔÇ£But I am sure I will settle down when I put my boots on and am out on the training pitch.ÔÇØ
Newman will not be the only 17-year-old at the national camp.
Midfielder Robyn Moodaly, who is also at the High Performance Centre and has scored once during her 10 appearances for the national team, returns to the Banyana Banyana squad for the first time in 2012. She represented the South African Under 20 side earlier this year.
Newman’s call-up falls in line with the vision of Banyana Banyana head coach Joseph Mkhonza. The two players both represented South Africa in the 2010 Zone VI Games in Swaziland.
ÔÇ£The national team to represent South Africa at the Olympics has not been selected yet, as we are keeping the door open right until the last moment, in order to ensure that we don’t overlook any talent that can add value to our campaign in London,ÔÇØ said Mkhonza.
ÔÇ£I am delighted to have Moodaly back as she played a key role during the national team’s Olympic qualifying campaign last year. Over the past few weeks we have called up several young players as we look to build a solid reservoir of talent for the future. The national training camp platform is there for the players to use as best they can.ÔÇØ
Meanwhile, USA-based goalkeeper Roxanne Barker has arrived in the country and will join her Banyana Banyana team-mates in camp in Potchefstroom. The Pepperdine University-based third year Biology student will be hard at work to convince the coaches that she should occupy one of the three goalkeeper positions among the 18 players set to represent South Africa at the Olympics.
The other goalkeepers in the national squad are experienced first choice Thoko Mndaweni and Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies (Sasol League Gauteng) goal-minder Andile Dlamini, who also played for the national Under 20 side this year.
Due to club commitments, experienced midfielder Nompumelelo Nyandeni will not be joining her compatriots in camp, but she will be available for the Banyana Banyana clash against Zambia in the African Women Championship first leg qualifier in Lusaka on 26 May.
Mkhonza’s other overseas-based midfielder Kylie Ann Louw will attend her graduation ceremony at the Stephen Austin University in Texas, USA, before joining her team-mates on Friday 18 May.