Banyana Banyana, South Africa’s senior women’s football team, will take on former World Champions USA in a series of friendlies.
It is the first time they will be playing since their historic FIFA World Cup campaign some months ago where they made it to the second round for the first time in just their second-ever appearance at the global event.
Meanwhile, the two friendlies, one in Cincinnati and Chicago, will also serve as farewell matches for the USA’s retiring superstars, Megan Rapinoe and Julie Ertz.
Both players have decided to call time on their careers after the conclusion of the US Women’s League in November.
The first of the two games will be played on Friday and here is a look at the team news, prediction and everything to expect.
USA vs Banyana Banyana preview and team news
The match is just another test match for the US side, but Banyana Banyana are using these games as preparation for the start of their Olympic qualifying journey — which begins in October when they clash in a doubleheader against the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The winner of the tie will advance to the third round of qualifying, which is set for February 2024.
“The Olympic qualifier is not too far from our minds. But we have two good games coming up to test ourselves and make sure that we put up a good performance,” coach Des Ellis said after her team landed in the US.
South Africa’s 22-player squad for these matches features 19 players from the 2023 World Cup squad.
Midfielder Sonoxolo Cesane, a junior at East Tennessee State University, was also handed a call up for these games.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s Hildah Magaia has been sidelined through injury and will not face USA in the forthcoming friendlies. She is not the only one going to miss the games as Bambanani Mbane and Refiloe Jane have also been ruled out.
The match on Friday at the TQL Stadium will kick off by 1:30am (South African Standard Time).
USA vs Banyana Banyana lineups and predictions
USA vs Banyana Banyana
Based on the team news, here is what we think USA vs Banyana Banyana starting XIs will look like.
Goalkeeper: Alyssa Naeher
Defenders: Emily Fox, Naomi Girma, Crystal Dunn, Sofia Huerta
Midfielders: Julie Ertz, Sam Coffey, Lindsey Horan
Forwards: Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Ashley Hatch
Goalkeeper: Kaylin Swart
Defenders: Lebogang Ramalepe, Faith Owusu, Tiisetso Makhubela, Karabo Dhlamini,
Midfielders: Nomvula Kgoale, Kholosa Biyana, Linda Motlhalo
Forwards: Thembi Kgatlana, Jermaine Seoposenwe, Melinda Kgadiete
USA vs Banyana Banyana prediction
It will be a tough task for Banyana Banyana though. From the two clashes between the nations, they have lost twice. They have also conceded four times while failing to breach the US defence.
Banyana Banyana have grown since their past meeting in 2019, so the African champions are expected to do well and give a good account of themselves in the early hours of Friday.
USA 2-1 Banyana Banyana
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago