[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The University of Johannesburg (UJ) attacking midfielder, Sphumelele Shamase, relishes her experience in the Banyana Banyana friendly match with Serbia at the Sportski Centar Fudbalskog saveza Srbije in Stara Pazova, on Monday, 10 April 2023. Although she did not play in the game, she was inspired for being among the best South African footballers and the Serbian team.
The match ended 3-2 in favour of the hosts. The friendly match was part of Banyana Banyana’s preparations for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup which is less than 100 days from kick off. The World Cup will be staged in Australia and New Zealand from 20 July to 20 August 2023.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”496890″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Head Coach, Desiree Ellis, made the final squad announcement on Monday, 1 April 2023, including Shamase in her plans. The left footed maestro’s selection comes after a string of impressive performances in the UJ senior women’s football team where she scored several crucial goals for the team in the Hollywoodbets Super League and other competitions like the FNB Varsity Football tournament.
According to the UJ senior women’s football team Head Coach, Nthabeleng “Dunga” Modiko, Shamase’s ability to find the back of the net and create scoring opportunities for her teammates made her an ideal candidate for the national team. “Shamase is a talented and expressive player with a great eye for goals. Her ability to score goals and create chances for others is exactly what we need in the national team,” said coach Dunga.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Speaking on her selection, Shamase expressed her excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to represent her country at the highest level.
“I am incredibly honoured and grateful for this opportunity to be part of the team that represents my country on the world stage. It’s also an opportunity to represent my club UJ and my family. I am looking forward to a fruitful future with the national squad – and that means I must continue to work hard to be selected,” said Shamase.
She added, “Although I did not play in Serbia, I believe that my time will come and I will do my best. I will wait for my turn – I have to be patient. This trip has provided an opportunity for me to learn from others and motivated me to forge forward with vigor. Although we lost the match, we were competitive and managed to score two goals against one of the toughest women’s football teams in the world. We will certainly do well in the World Cup.”
Shamase was among some of the best Banyana Banyana players who are regarded as icons, such as Refilwe Jane and Hildah Magaia, for local and international fans. I have learned from the experienced teammates as well as compete at the highest level with some of the best soccer icons,” Shamase exclaims.
Banyana Banyana are the current reigning Women’s Africa Cup of Nations champions. The friendly match against Serbia provided Banyana Banyana with an opportunity to assess their strengths and weaknesses as they prepare to compete against the world’s best teams.
On the other hand, the Serbian team they played is currently ranked 29th in the world. They have also qualified for the UEFA Women’s Euro five times and have been steadily improving in recent years.