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Women's World Cup: South Africa Women's Team Profile

Preparing for only their second ever Women's World Cup after a challenging campaign four years ago in France, South Africa are a team full of heart with a determined and adored head coach and a star striker at their disposal.

Banyana Banyana should head into this year's tournament in Australia and New Zealand full of confidence after winning their maiden Women's Africa Cup of Nations title last year and will be stubborn opponents.

However, they will not have fond memories of the 2019 Women's World Cup, in which they lost all three of their matches and crashed out in the group stage.

They find themselves in Group G along with Sweden, Italy and Argentina.

South Africa’s World Cup record:

It is fair to say South Africa are light on experience at the Women's World Cup, having made their first and only appearance in the tournament in France in 2019.

That tournament proved to be a baptism of fire for Banyana Banyana, who exited in the group stage after defeats to Spain, China and Germany.

It was a tough section for South Africa to be drawn in but they at least experienced some joy when star striker Thembi Kgatlana had put them 1-0 up in their first match against Spain, only for three second-half goals from La Roja to turn the game on its head.

South Africa also won their first ever Women's Africa Cup of Nations title last year, having been runners-up on five occasions beforehand.

How South Africa qualified:

As was the case during the previous Women's World Cup, qualification for CAF nations for this year's tournament was determined by performances in the Women's Africa Cup of Nations.

Teams only needed to reach the competition's semi-finals to qualify for the Women's World Cup but South Africa went a couple of steps further and won the tournament, defeating Morocco 2-1 in the final.

They are joined by Nigeria and Women's World Cup debutants Morocco and Zambia from the CAF this year.

The Manager - Desiree Ellis: 

Since taking charge of South Africa Women back in 2016, former Spurs Ladies head coach Desiree Ellis has evolved into a popular figure.

Born in Cape Town, Ellis became the first coach to lead South Africa to a Women's World Cup back in 2019 - a serious landmark for the country even if it was not the performance they had hoped for in the group stage.

That was then topped last year when Ellis became the first manager to deliver a Women's Africa Cup of Nations title, overcoming what was deemed a continental curse given the team had reached the final on five previous occasions.

Ellis has also won all three of the CAF Women's Coach of the Year accolades previously awarded in 2018, 2019 and 2022 and Banyana Banyana look in good hands under her stewardship.

She is loved by fans of the national team, although she has previously been criticised for her stubbornness regarding team selection with suggestions there has been personal bias in the past.

Confirmed South Africa squad

Goalkeepers: Andile Dlamini, Kaylin Swart, Kebotseng Moletsane.

Defenders: Karabo Dhlamini, Fikile Magama, Lebohang Ramalepe, Tiisetso Makhubela, Noko Matlou, Bambanani Mbane, Bongeka Gamede.

Midfielders: Kholosa Biyana, Refiloe Jane, Sibulelel Holweni, Linda Motlhalo, Nomvula Kgoale, Robyn Moodaly.

Forwards: Gabriela Salgado, Jermaine Seoposenwe, Noxolo Cesane, Melinda Kgadiete, Wendy Shongwe, Hildah Magaia, Thembi Kgatlana.

South Africa’s Key Players:

When looking at the South Africa squad for this year's Women's World Cup, it is hard to look beyond Kgatlana as the one who will make the most impact for Banyana Banyana.

At the Women's Africa Cup of Nations last year, South Africa lost star forward Kgatlana during the group phase after she ruptured her Achilles tendon.

That was a massive blow and, although South Africa went on to lift the trophy, her absence would have been felt in the dressing room.

Fortunately for South Africa, Kgatlana has returned to fitness and goalscoring form in time for the Women's World Cup, and scored her first goal for National Women's Soccer League side Racing Louisville in a 2-0 win over Gotham earlier in June.

She has also previously plied her trade for Benfica, Eibar and Atletico Madrid and has netted 22 goals in 62 appearances for her country.

South Africa’s Group Fixtures:

Group G
Sweden vs South Africa, Wellington, 23rd July 2023
Argentina vs South Africa, Dunedin, 28th July 2023
South Africa vs Italy, Wellington, 2nd August 2023

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