Preparations going very well – Pauw
The South African Senior Women’s National Team (Banyana Banyana) is confident that they will do well in the first leg of the third round of the 2016 Rio Olympic qualifiers against Kenya.
Banyana Banyana face the visitors on Saturday, 18 July 2015 at Dobsonville Stadium, Soweto. Kick-off is at 15h00.
The South Africans have been in camp since Sunday, 12 July, and have put in a few training sessions behind them.
The preparations are going well but we have a few challenges like goalkeeper Roxanne Barker not released by her club because these games fall outside the FIFA Calendar period, same for Kaylin Swart and Jermaine Seoposenwe – all based overseas,” said Banyana Banyana head coach Vera Pauw after the squad’s training session in Dobsonville.
“We also don’t have Mamello Makhabane who has an infection, hopefully she will be fit and strong for the return leg, vice-captain Refiloe Jane is still travelling from the World Student Games in Korea – we had expected her to at the start of camp on Sunday, but now she will only join us on Thursday.”
Despite the setbacks for this all-important mission, Pauw remains confident. She has called up young goalkeeper Mapaseka Mpuru from the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre, midfielder Stephanie Malherbe and striker Bongiwe Thusi from Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies.
“There is so much talent in South Africa that the new players are picking up so quickly, hopefully we will not feel much of a loss of the absent players. You saw how the goalkeepers are stepping up to the challenge, and that is fantastic. We also have Robin Modally who trained with us for the first time today to see how she is coping after a long layoff due to injury, unfortunately Stephanie Malherbe doesn’t have a passport but we are doing our best to arrange for it, even though it may not be on time for the match,” added Pauw.
The return leg will be played at the Machakos Stadium in Kenya in the first week of August but before then South Africa is well aware of what they are up against.
“They have two very fast strikers – one of them very tall – but other than that I believe we should be the better team as we have good talent. We also know some key aspects about our opponents and will confirm those after watching their videos,” said the Banyana Banyana mentor.
On Thursday, 16 July the South Africans will visit Jabulani Mall in Soweto to meet their fans and also hand out match tickets. They will then proceed to Regina Mundi to do their bit for Mandela Day where they will be handing out books.