Author: John AliuBanyana Banyana training in Wellington, New Zealand © Sydney MahlanguMamelodi Sundowns Ladies will be well-represented in the FIFA Women’s World Cup which commenced on the 20th of July 2023 in Australia and New Zealand, as six Brazilians have earned their spots in the final 23-woman squad of Banyana Banyana.  The selected players are Andile ‘Sticks’ Dlamini, Karabo ‘Cream’ Dhlamini, Lebohang ‘Rama’ Ramalepe, Tiisetso ‘Bastos’ Makhubela, Bambanani ‘Juice’ Mbane and Melinda ‘Soft-life’ Kgadiete.
Sticks started two out of the three group-stage games at the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France and played in every game as South Africa clinched their first-ever Women’s Cup of Nations Title in Morocco last year. As a result, the Sundowns Ladies goalie was named the Best Goalkeeper of the Group Stage and Goalkeeper of the Tournament by CAF.

The talented goalkeeper believes that the experience gained at the last FIFA World Cup has been instrumental in her growth as a professional.

“Participating in the 2019 tournament was instrumental in shaping my growth in the game. It has provided valuable insights into the various levels of pressure that come with competing on the world stage and the range of emotions that accompany such high-profile events. The privilege of representing South Africa always fills me with immense pride and our primary objective now is to deliver our best performance at the World Cup. We are fully committed to making South Africa proud and leaving a lasting impact on the tournament,” Andile stated.
Karabo Dhlamini was also part of the South African squad in 2019 but did not make an appearance. However, she featured heavily as Banyana Banyana clinched Africa’s biggest prize last year. Her ability to bomb forward and dominate the flanks on both ends was pivotal to her team’s success.
Lebohang Ramalepe started all three group games against Spain, China and Germany at the last FIFA World Cup and was hailed for her turbo-charged performances. The Limpopo-born full-back joined Sundowns Ladies earlier this year from Belarus, where she won eight trophies. The defender hopes that her vast wealth of experience will benefit the team Down Under.
“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to represent my country once again on the international stage, as the World Cup serves as a remarkable platform where aspirations come to fruition. Drawing from the invaluable experiences gained in my previous World Cup journey, I have the utmost confidence that this forthcoming tournament will offer a chance to address any previous shortcomings. I am fully committed to working tirelessly alongside my teammates, united in our pursuit of shared objectives,” said Ramalepe.
Tiisetso Makhubela, who did not have the opportunity to make an appearance in France despite traveling with the team, will be determined to make her debut Down Under. Bastos, who rejoined Sundowns Ladies at the start of last year after initially joining the club in 2018, has made a strong impression since her return to Chloorkop. She was an integral part of the team that secured victory in the Hollywoodbets Super League last season.

Bambanani Mbane featured against China at the 2019 World Cup and her career has been on an upward trajectory since then. Thanks to her exceptional defensive abilities and sweeping capabilities, she has become an unwavering defensive pillar for both club and country. The Eastern Cape-born defender was an integral member of the treble-winning squad with Sundowns Ladies in 2021. Juice was also a pivotal member of the Banyana Banyana side, which emerged as continental champions last year.
Melinda Kgadiete is set to fulfill her long-awaited dream of making her World Cup debut after being selected as part of the travelling squad. The Mdantsane-born forward has been one of the standout players in the Hollywoodbets Super League this season, scoring an impressive 12 goals. The Sundowns striker will be hoping to carry her domestic form into the World Cup.

Coach Desiree’s side has been drawn in a mouthwatering Group G alongside Sweden, Italy and Argentina. Banyana Banyana open their tournament against the Swedes on 23 July before playing Argentina on 28 July, with their last group match against Italy taking place on 2 August.
The upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup is scheduled to take place from July 20 to August 20, 2023.
We extend our best wishes to the Sundowns Ladies and the entire Banyana Banyana team as they compete against some of the finest women’s teams in Australia and New Zealand.
Banyana Banyana Group Matches:
Sweden vs South Africa: Sunday 23rd July - 07h00 (SAST)
Argentina vs South Africa: Friday 28th July- 02h00 (SAST)
South Africa vs Italy: Wednesday 02nd August- 09h00 (SAST)

FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023