South Africa: Player Profiles

The Banyana Banyana defeated Tanzania to set up Nigeria's clash.

FIFA WWC South Africa: Player Profiles

Pulse Sports Team 15:15 - 04.07.2023

Get to know all the players in the South Africa squad participating at the Women’s World Cup this summer.


Andile Dlamini

Date of birth: 2 September 1992 
Club: Mamelodi Sundowns

Football was furthest from the accomplished 30-year-old goalkeeper’s thoughts during the height of the pandemic in 2020 when complications from getting covid resulted in her having fluid in her heart. “I was thinking: ‘God, if it’s my time, just take me. Please don’t make me suffer. If it’s not my time, may I heal and may it become a miracle,’” Dlamini told News24 this year. 

The acrobatic keeper from Tembisa Township in Johannesburg has since gone on to win the goalkeeper of the tournament award in Banyana Banyana’s victorious Women’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign last year as well as being crowned as the South African sports star of the year at the SA Sports Awards this year.

Kaylin Swart

Date of birth: 30 September 1994 
Club: JVW

Swart plays for JVW in South Africa’s top flight, the Super League, and has been with the national team since making her debut for the senior side against 2023 World Cup group adversaries Sweden in 2018. 

Though she’s been part of the national team for just more than five years, due to the brilliance and consistency of Andile Dlamini, she has mostly watched from the bench. Still, she is eager to be part of a Banyana Banyana side that makes history in 2023.

“We have to be better as a team. Hence, we’ve been working on our defensive side. Because we have the ambition to get out of our World Cup group.”

Kebotseng Moletsane

Date of birth: 3 March 1995 
Club: Royal AM

About a year ago Moletsane was selected as the back-up goalkeeper for the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon), which South Africa won. Fast forward 12 months and she has switched roles with the regular third-choice keeper – Regirl Ngobeni. The latter missed out on the final 23 for the World Cup, being selected as a standby instead. 

Moletsane was part of the Banyana side that was pipped by Zambia to the regional Cosafa Women’s Championship gold in late 2022. Her club, Royal AM, is one of just three teams directly owned by clubs in South Africa’s men’s top flight. The rest of the teams in the women’s Super League are independently owned.


Karabo Dhlamini

Date of birth: 18 September 2001 
Club: Mamelodi Sundowns

Dhlamini is adept at almost any role across the field but the technically sound 21-year-old prefers to be on the left flank where she can whip the ball into dangerous attacking areas. 

The Tshwane-born player wasn’t allowed to kick a football growing up. “My mum didn’t allow me to play soccer because she thought it was only for boys,” she said. “One of my teachers in primary school said to her: ‘It’s fine, she can play.’ That’s when I started playing, when I was seven.”

Bambanani Mbane

Date of birth: 12 March 1990 
Club: Mamelodi Sundowns

“I’m the type of player who wants to win every competition I participate in. Winning motivates me. The more I win, the hungrier I am to win even more.” That’s Mbane’s motto in life. She lives up to it too. It’s no wonder she’s one of Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis’s most trusted soldiers on the field. When Mbane isn’t being ice-cool in defence, she is displaying a long-distance passing prowess that Xabi Alonso would be proud of. 

This feature of her game was key when Banyana Banyana clinched the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) for the first time in 2022, where she featured in the team of the tournament. It was equally pivotal when she played a starring role in helping Mamelodi Sundowns win the inaugural Caf Women’s Champions League in 2021. There she was also named in the tournament’s best 11.

Bongeka Gamede

Date of birth:  22 May 1999 
Club: University of the Western Cape

Gamede was used as a cover full-back when South Africa won the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco last year, but she is also a central defender. Her versatility will be imperative in their bid to exit the group phase for the first time in just their second World Cup appearance. 

The 25-year-old has previously represented South Africa at the Under-17 and Under-20 levels, but due to some senior players having the edge on her, her minutes in the senior side have been limited to date. With some of the veterans approaching the end of their careers, she is the future of Banyana’s defence. In 2019 Gamede, who was uncapped at that time, sacrificed writing her tertiary exams to represent South Africa at the World Cup in France.  

Noko Matlou

Date of birth:  30 September 1985 
Club: SD Eibar

A seasoned campaigner, Matlou has represented South Africa as both a striker, and now as a defender. In 2008, she became the first South African to be named African Women’s Footballer of the Year. But it was only several years later that she realised her dream of playing abroad, when she joined Spanish side Eibar in 2020. 

“I’ve done well for my country and myself. So, this is the reward. I’m looking forward to establishing myself and making a name for myself and my country,” said of her move at the time. The 37-year-old has established herself as a vital cog in the Eibar side, recently playing a pivotal role as they gained promotion to Spain’s top flight. 

Tiisetso Makhubela

Date of birth: 24 April 1997 
Club: Mamelodi Sundowns

Makhubela made her debut for Banyana Banyana in November 2018 against Ghana. She also featured at the 2019 World Cup in France. The defender, who managed a remarkable (for a defender) seven goals during the 2021 season, was also part of the Banyana Banyana team that played their way to victory at the 2019 Cosafa Cup. 

She scored the opening goal as South Africa crushed Comoros 17-0, the most comprehensive win in the Southern Africa championships’ history. She later scored the only goal in the final against Zambia which crowned Banyana as the champions of Southern Africa.

Fikile Magama

Date of birth: 19 January 2002 
Club: University of the Western Cape

At just 21 years old, Magama is part of the new school in South Africa’s side. The full-back is new to the Banyana Banyana setup, having been brought in for last year’s regional Cosafa Cup. 

But she has played on a World Cup stage before, representing South Africa at the Under-17 tournament in Uruguay five years ago. There South Africa finished bottom of their group – she will hope for a different outcome this time around.

Lebogang Ramalepe

Date of birth: 3 December 1991 
Club: Mamelodi Sundowns 

Ramalepe, who hails from Limpopo, started her football career with Kanatla Ladies and later joined the Super League side Ma-Indies. She has been a part of the Banyana Banyana setup for almost a decade and has featured in the 2014, 2018 and 2022 editions of Wafcon. 

The full-back has served the national team impressively over the years, with her crossing ability a real threat. In 2020, she was asked to captain the side against Lesotho. “I was so happy and nervous at the same time because I never thought I would captain the national team anytime soon,” she told African Women Warrior.


Refiloe Jane

Date of birth: 4 August 1992 
Club: Sassuolo

On the ball and off it Refiloe ‘Fifinho’ Jane seems to be three steps ahead of the game and with her master’s degree in marketing, specialising in sport, from Tshwane (Pretoria) University of Technology, it’s little surprise. 

The deep-lying playmaker is a tidy technician who can pierce defences with her exceptional range of passing. Jane’s first stint overseas didn’t come without difficulty – as a 25-year-old in 2018 when she made the move from TUT to Canberra United in Australia, she required public donations for flights and accommodation. The Banyana Banyana captain, with over 100 caps, has since become a regular in Italy, where she played for Milan for three years before settling at Sassuolo.

Linda Motlhalo

Date of birth: 1 July 1998  
Club: Glasgow City

Motlhalo, known as the “Randfontein Ronaldinho” (Randfontein is a mining town west of Johannesburg), is one for the big moments. In May this year, she provided the deftest of assists to Glasgow City teammate Lauren Davidson –  who neatly tucked away the only goal – in the 92nd minute of their match against rivals Rangers to clinch this season’s Scottish Women’s Premier League title. 

In the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations last year, Motlhalo struck a 94th-minute penalty to break the deadlock against Zambia to send South Africa through to the final – which Banyana Banyana proceeded to win for the first time in their history five days later. True to her nickname, the playmaker is not shy of trying a few mesmerising dribbles. 

Robyn Moodaly

Date of birth: 16 June 1994 
Current Club: JVW 

Midfielder maestro Moodaly has been a mainstay in the Banyana Banyana lineup for a while now – she made her debut as a promising teenager, aged just 16. The pacy and tricky midfielder has been part of the South African setup in a number of international tournaments – including London 2012 and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. 

She played at the 2010 Under-17 World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago, alongside teammates Jermaine Seoposenwe and Kaylin Swart. A Liverpool fan, Moodaly says her three dream dinner party guests would be Chris Brown, Kevin Hart and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Sibulele Holweni 

Date of birth: 28 April 2001 
Current Club: University of the Western Cape

Growing up Holweni was not allowed to play football. However, she managed to juggle her family's demands and expectations. Years later the 22-year-old has become a regular member of Desiree Ellis’s side. Her versatility is her trump card. 

The midfielder can also play as a forward and on the left side of defence. “I love every position as long as I’m playing football. Whatever role I have to play in the position that I’m selected for, I always make sure I do my best,” she said.

Kholosa Biyana

Date of birth: 6 September 1994 
Club: University of the Western Cape

Biyana began her football career at Canaan Academy in Idutywa, in Eastern Cape. There she played with “the boys” and honed the skills that now see her being a regular name in the Banyana Banyana side. 

In 2020, Biyana moved from the University of the Western Cape to broaden her horizons abroad – joining Sporting Gijón in Spain for the 2020-21 season, before returning home to her former side at the beginning of 2023. On why she enjoys football, the no-nonsense midfielder said: “On the football field I get to know different people and understand different behaviours. I also get to travel the world and learn different languages.”

Nomvula Kgoale

Date of birth: 20 November 1995 
Club: TS Galaxy

It’s easy to spot Kgoale on the pitch; she’s the one wearing bright-red lipstick. “I just do what I want to do. To see people putting on lipstick when they are playing now, that’s amazing. If they want a T-shirt or billboard, let’s do it,” Kgoale said after being dubbed “Lipstick Lady” following Banyana Banyana’s Wafcon triumph last year. 

Since the high of the Africa Cup of Nations success, Kgoale took a sabbatical from the sport to focus on her mental health. “There were a lot of expectations. But I am a human being and not a robot. So I decided that after winning the Cup I had to take a break.” She is now back playing for TS Galaxy on home soil. 


Thembi Kgatlana

Date of birth: 2 May 1996 
Club: Racing Louisville 

Kgatlana is among the top five highest goalscorers for South Africa with 22 goals for the national side. Unfortunately the fleet-footed forward has not been able to add to her total in over a year, owing to a ruptured achilles tendon suffered in the final group game against Botswana at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations. 

The former Atlético Madrid striker’s fortunes have turned around this year, however, as she is back on the pitch in the USA. Off the field she made the Forbes Africa 30 under 30 list in April.

Hildah Magaia

Date of birth: 16 December 1994 
Current Club: Sejong Sportstoto

Magaia has played her way up the ranks. From training with the local boys’ team to representing the Tshwane University of Technology, plus Sweden’s Möron BK – and now South Korean club Sejong Sportstoto. 

“My family is made up of people who love football. I was fortunate enough to be the one who goes far with football. I started playing football in the backyard with my dad, brother and uncle. Then I went to the field to play with the guys as there were no girls’ teams.”

She and her family will never forget her two goals to hand Banyana Banyana their maiden continental title during the Women's Africa Cup of Nations final in 2022. 

Gabriela Salgado

Date of birth: 20 February 1998 
Club: JVW

Salgado fractured her collarbone two days before the final camp before the start of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations last year. “The doctor told me I would be out for two months and I wouldn’t be able to go with the team to Morocco. 

It was the most devastating news ever,” Salgado said. 

The dangerous left-footed striker and nimble dribbler has no Spanish family despite sharing a surname with combative former Spain player Míchel Salgado. “My father is Portuguese, that’s where the surname comes from – and my mother is Lebanese. So, I’ve got a foreign mixture in me but I am born and bred in Johannesburg,” Salgado told City Press. 

Noxolo Cesane 

Date of birth: 11 October 2000 
Club: Tigres Femenil

Blessed with ample pace, Cesane loves to operate on the wings – where she can turn on the afterburners properly. She is also very strong and can fend off opponents with relative ease. She has a twin, Sinoxolo Cesane, who is also a footballer and is based in the USA. 

Over the last couple of years, Cesane has established herself as an important part of the Banyana Banyana team. Capable of ghosting past defenders, she has often been criticised for not complimenting her marauding runs with an end product. “What has let me down when I am in the box is this thing of having many thoughts, thinking to shoot and thinking to pass at the same time. I have worked very hard to try and be relaxed so I make a good decision in the end,” she said.

Jermaine Seoposenwe

Date of birth: 12 October 1993 
Club: FC Juárez

Seoposenwe made history in Mexico in September last year when she scored the fastest goal in Liga MX Femenil history, finding the net after just nine seconds for FC Juárez against Necaxa. The nimble striker returned to the national fold during the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations last year – where she scored two goals – following a three-year absence. 

“Going into the tournament, I felt I had something to prove,” Seoposenwe said. “Being away for three years, I feel like there are a lot of people wondering why I was back in the squad, while there were those that wanted me back.”

Melinda Kgadiete

Date of birth: 21 July 1992 
Club: Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies

The nippy striker is the ultimate team player. Over the years, she has had to play second fiddle to Thembi Kgatlana and Jermaine Seoposenwe. Nevertheless, she has always delivered when called upon, whether starting or coming from the bench. 

Turning 31 years old this year, she is one of the older players in the side, though you would not know it. Quick and skilful, she likes drifting to the wings, where she beats her opponents with a smile. Injuries have somewhat stunted her development for a few years. However, the forward – who can use both feet equally well – seems to be back to her best once more. Also loves cricket and has taken referee training courses.

Wendy Shongwe

Date of birth: 18 January 2003 
Club: University of Pretoria

Hailing from South Africa’s Mpumalanga province, Shongwe is a natural and talented finisher. Soft-spoken and shy off the field, the 20-year-old does all her talking on the pitch. Hence, she was named Varsity Football Player of the Year in 2021. 

She also has a history of track running, in which she competed before she swapped the track for the football field. She has adapted amazingly since that switch and harbours dreams of making history with Banyana Banyana if granted the opportunity. “I’m really looking forward to making more history for myself and the national team,” said Shongwe.  

Written by Yanga Sibembe and Keanan Hemmonsbey (the Daily Maverick in South Africa) for the Guardian.