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Ellis puts her World Cup preparations in motion

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Kgatlana finished as the top goalscorer in the 2018 Women’s Afcon with five goals, where she also walked away with the Player of the Tournament accolade

Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana from South Africa (right) receives the Womens Player of the Year award from FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura (centre) with CAF president Ahmad Ahmad (left) during the Confederation of African Football (CAF) awards at the Abdou Diouf International Conference Center in Dakar, Senegal on Tuesday. Kgatlana also won the best goal award.

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis yesterday named a squad of 26 players for a training camp to kickstart preparations for the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup in France that will run from June 7 to July 7.

The squad will be based in Cape Town where they will face the Netherlands and Sweden in friendlies on Saturday, January 19 and Tuesday, January 22, both at Cape Town Stadium.

The squad includes forward Thembi Kgatlana took home two trophies – the CAF Goal of the Year and CAF Woman Player of the Year awards in Dakar, Senegal, on Tuesday night.

Kgatlana (pictured) won the Goal of the Year award for the strike she took when Banyana Banyana defeated Nigeria 1-0 in their opening match of the 2018 Women’s Afcon held in Ghana in November.

The goal also earned her the Player of the Match of Award – she went on to score four more goals to be crowned Player of the Tournament.

Kgatlana finished as the top goalscorer in the 2018 Women’s Afcon with five goals, where she also walked away with the Player of the Tournament accolade.

The pint-sized player took home the coveted 2018 Women’s Player of the Year award – pipping the Nigerian duo of Asisat Oshoala and Fransisca Ordega. She was also a nominee for the African Player of the Year award in 2017.

The Houston Dash forward becomes the second South African to lift this trophy, following in the footsteps of fellow Banyana Banyana striker Noko Matlou in 2008.

Ellis has kept the bulk of the team that did duty in the 2018 Women’s Afcon in Ghana where Banyana Banyana finished in second position behind Nigeria.

Banyana squad

Andile Dlamini, Kaylin Swart, Roxanne Barker, Victoria Muroa, Lebogang Ramalepe, Nothando Vilakazi, Janine Van Wyk, Noko Matlou, Bambanani Mbane, Tiisetso Makhubela, Koketso Tlailane, Karabo Dhlamini, Mamello Makhabane, Leandra Smeda, Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Linda Motlhalo, Busisiwe Ndimeni, Refiloe Jane, Molatelo Sebata, Kholosa Biyana, Jermaine Seoposenwe, Thembi Kgatlana, Kelso Peskin, Amanda Mthandi, Hildah Magaia, Rhoda Malaudzi

ANA