Banyana Banyana Talks World Cup, Training And How They’re Fuelling Up

by | Jun 5, 2023 | News

The FIFA Women’s World Cup will be held in Australia and New Zealand from 20 July – 20 August 2023. The team is hard at work preparing for the event and had a training camp with coach Desiree Ellis in Johannesburg, with another one scheduled for June. Here’s how Banyana Banyana is fuelling up for the World Cup in July.

Meet The Banyana Banyana Team

Andile Dlamini

andile dlamini

Andile Dlamini is a goalkeeper and SA Sports Star for 2022.

Bambanani Mbane


Bambanani is a midfielder and is the 2020/2021 Hollywoodbets Super League: Player of the Year.

Kholosa Biyana


Kholosa is a midfielder and former World Cup player.

Thelea Smidt

thelea smidt

Thelea is a midfielder and former Hollywoodbets Super League Champion.

Lelona Daweti

lelona daweti

Lelona is a striker and was one of the top assists in the 2019/20 Women’s National League campaign.

Training Up

“As an individual, I feel great, ready to go into the last training camp with the national team,” says midfielder Kholosa Biyana. “It’s the camp taking place in June that will demand a lot from us, mentally and physically. This is where the final team will be selected. The first goal is to be in that final team, then the team goal is to get points in the group stages that will get us into the last 16.”

“Football at the World Cup level requires very high fitness, hence I train twice a day – once with my fitness trainer and then with the team,” says midfielder Bambanani Mbane.

“I am feeling optimistic, and hopeful. The final squad has not yet been selected, so for now I am still working hard, and improving to better my game,” says central midfielder Thalea Smidt.

The training for the team has been intense, with multiple sessions a day to get ready for the World Cup. “Training has been challenging, not only are we preparing for our league games, but also preparing for the demands of the national team and upcoming camp,” says Kholosa. “I train a minimum of six days, max seven days a week, with recovery sessions in between. Football sessions are 90 minutes, and gym sessions twice a week, 45 minutes.”

Banyana Banyana World Cup Dreams

Each member of the team is hoping to be announced as a squad member for the Cup – which hasn’t been announced yet. “My main goal for this tournament would be to get as much game time as I could, and also learn and grasp more on the aspect of football,” says striker Lelona Daweti.

“As this is the biggest tournament in women’s football, I am extremely excited to be among the possible candidates to participate in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup,” says Bambanani.

“If I do make the final squad my goals would be aligned with the goals of the team, personally I would just like to add value to the team when the chance arises,” says Thalea.

For Andile Dlamini, things are looking shakier as she battles injury while prepping for the global tournament. “I have mixed emotions, due to my injury. But when I make it, I would like to see myself helping the country win the group stages,” she says.

Fuelling Up

Nutrition is a big part of overall fitness and the team has been paying special attention to this. “As athletes, we strain our bodies so much therefore we need to make sure we replace all the fluid and the energy that we use when training through the right nutrition,” says Kholosa. “This means I cannot miss any meals and it all starts with a good breakfast, especially before morning gym sessions. I do protein shakes after my gym sessions, a meal with carbs before training sessions, and protein bars after my afternoon sessions. Also, I take supplements with magnesium, Vitamin D, vitamin B6 and zinc before I sleep.”

“I drink a lot of water, eat foods with protein and snack on fruits and vegetables,” says Bambanani. “I also make sure that my body is well rested. My meals focus is on ensuring my body doesn’t feel heavy which helps me a lot in terms of my running and making sure that I have enough stamina to last me throughout the entire practice session and game time.”

Recovery time

“Recovery is mostly based on resting and easing the muscles, so an Ice bath and a rub down is the most active option we use,” says Lelona.

“I prioritize recovery and make sure I get enough hours of sleep as this is important,” says Thalea. “My recovery happens after sessions, as well as on off days. I prefer ice baths and massages and I also have my own compression boots for rapid recovery.”

Staying mentally strong

“To remain at a stable level for my mental health, I always ensure that I remain happy and speak to loved ones to constantly remind myself that the positives are the only thing that matters,” says Lelona.

“I read and record music to keep me motivated and I focus a lot on positive quotes to remind me of great moments that come with bigger stages,” says Andile.

“I have been to a World Cup before, and I understand the level that I have to be in,” says Kholosa. “That World Cup was four years ago, so the demands now will definitely be four times more than the previous one. But I am prepared, my mental strength and confidence come from the work [I put in] at training.”

Being sponsored

“adidas has given me a lot of recognition and has kept me motivated throughout because when passion and goals become a reality, everything in you shapes you for football,” says Lelona.

“It’s a big step, not just for me but for women in sports. adidas is committed to supporting women in sports and I am so grateful that I am one of their athletes,” says Kholosa.

“It has given me a greater platform to show the world what my brand (Andile Dlamini) stands for. PUMA has helped me gain more confidence, I am a different person today,” says Andile.

“Having a sponsor has helped me stay motivated and double up my efforts as I have a duty to uphold my sponsor’s image while growing my own brand,” says Bambanani.

“PUMA has created a relationship where one feels you have their backing on and off the field. This enables one to become more confident, and a confident player is a happy player, driven to give one’s best,” says Thalea.

You can catch the action for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup on TV and live stream online. 

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