Ngobeni’s call-up, alongside three of her UWC teammates, is for the high-profile friendly international against the Netherlands set for Saturday, 3 July in the Dutch city of Zwolle. While this is the 25-year-old’s first time with the senior national team, she was a regular squad member of the Basetsana group between 2013-15 – during their failed attempts to qualify for the 2014 and 2016 FIFA Under-20 World Cups.
Ngobeni, who is originally from Dennilton in Limpopo where she played for a club called Seven Stars, completed her schooling at TuksSport High School in 2014 [as Basetsana players have long used the High Performance Centre at the University of Pretoria as their base]. From there she went to the North-West University, studying sport science at the Potchefstroom campus and playing for NWU Tawana in the North West stream of the SASOL League.
In 2017, Ngobeni transferred to UWC, where she's doing a BEd, and soon made the goalkeeper jersey her own. In the process she has helped UDubs to a SASOL League (Western Cape stream) and SAFA Cape Town Coke Cup ‘double’ in 2018 – and runners-up finishes in Varsity Football 2017-19 and USSA 2019. Since the advent of the SAFA National Women’s League in 2019, Ngobeni has been the team’s first choice goalkeeper and rightfully claimed this season’s first Player of the Month award in May – conceding only three goals in five matches as UWC climbed up the table to their current top-three place.
For company in the national team camp, Ngobeni will have her club captain Bongeka Gamede, as well as Noxolo Cesane and Sibulele Holweni - who retain their places from the last time Banyana Banyana played in April. Their club coach, Thinasonke Mbuli, also doubles as Banyana Banyana assistant coach and team analyst Wayne Hendricks has also received a call-up.
Photos courtesy Skhu Nkomphela (UWC Sport). Graphic courtesy GamePhaseDesign.