The Banyana Banyana squad will be without goalkeeper Roxanne Barker and midfielder Nompumelelo Nyandeni who have been withdrawn as they are nursing injuries.
Barker was part of the team that travelled to Cameroon for the CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations where she was withdrawn after injuring her toe at training.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 after training, before we reported for the national team camp – she felt a pain on 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 Together with the technical team we are working on the names to replace the two players who have withdrawn.”
Banyana Banyana assembled for camp on Friday, 13 January and held their first training session on Saturday, 14 January. Ellis was happy with what she saw. “I think it went reasonably well for our first training session, considering we have just come back from a festive break,” she said. “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.
The French national team is ranked 3rd in the world and 2nd in UEFA behind Germany, while South Africa is ranked 4th 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.