The South African women’s national team, Banyana Banyana, will have their final training session today at the Isak Steyl Stadium ahead of their International friendly against neighbours, Botswana at the Vaal University of Technology.
Russian-based striker, Nompumelelo Nyandeni, is expected to return for the game this Saturday after being on the sidelines for a lengthy period with a knee injury.
Nyandeni said she is delighted at the prospect of playing for Banyana Banyana once again, and gave respects to coach Vera Pauw for giving her the opportunity.
“I want to thank the coach for giving me the chance to return to the team after such a long absence. So I feel very happy that I am in the set-up again, but I am not hundred percent fit as I am still carrying a knee injury, but just being a part of this group really makes me feel great,” she said according to a press release by SAFA.
Nyandeni is the only internationally based player on the Banyana Banyana set-up, and spoke fondly of the new faces she saw upon returning to national duty.
“I saw some new faces and some familiar ones of course. The funny part is that when we are on the field and I want them to pass the ball to me I first have to ask “by the way who is that?” It’s also a good thing that we have new faces in the team which shows that South Africa has a lot of talent, and the experienced players can impart that knowledge so that South African football can move forward and be strong.”
Despite not being 100 percent fit, she hopes to have an impact on the squad so as to improve going forward. She also spoke about the prospect of playing at the Women’s World Cup.
“I am not sure, but I am hoping it is going to be soon. I took some shots at training, made some turns and it is not as painful anymore which means I am getting somewhere. Of course I have the belief that I will be part of the squad going to the tournament and help the team proceed to the World Cup, provided I can regain my full fitness."
"Although a part of me is sad that I did not help in qualifying for the AWC, I believe in myself, so I really see myself in those tournaments especially the World Cup. It is every player’s dream to represent their country at the highest level,” she added.
Nyandeni has been plying her trade for Rossiyanka in the Russian Championship since 2010, and took part in a FIFA campaign for improving health through recreational football together with Ballon d'or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo, Argentine superstar, Lionel Messi and Africa's very own Didier Drogba the same year.
The friendly between Banyana Banyana will take place on Saturday, June 7, with the game commencing at 15h00.