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Janine’s birthday wish

Banyana Banyana central defender Janine van Wyk will look to celebrate her 24th birthday in style on Sunday, by helping her team-mates outplay Tunisia in an Olympic Qualifier second leg fixture at the be Olympique d’el Menzah Stadium in Tunis.

The South African senior women’s national football team go into Sunday’s match (4pm kick-off SA time) with a 1-0 advantage after Noko Matlou’s all-important goal scored during the first leg fixture played in Durban two weeks ago.

Van Wyk, who plays her club football for Sasol League National Champions Palace Super Falcons in Gauteng, is no stranger to pressure situations and is as key to locking the Banyana Banyana defence as she is in sending in thundering free-kicks from attacking situations.

ÔÇ£While Banyana Banyana finished with the bronze medal at the CAF African Women’s Championship 2010 held in Ekurhuleni near Johannesburg last November, we missed out on making the final which meant we did not qualify for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany,ÔÇØ said Van Wyk.

ÔÇ£But we learnt from the experience and are determined to stay in the running for the London 2012 Olympics, by seeing off the challenge of Tunisia. We know that they will be more difficult to break down in front of their home fans, but we have the players here to get the job done.ÔÇØ

Another Banyana Banyana player who is hoping to be on the winning side on Sunday is midfielder Nomathemba Nsibande, who will turn 25 on Tuesday.

Nsibande returned to the Banyana Banyana squad after impressing the national coaches during a Players’ Trials session at the Sasol League Road Show held in Randfontein, near Johannesburg in December and has been pressing to retain a position in the starting line up.

ÔÇ£I have been happy with my form for my club, Springs Home Sweepers in the Gauteng Sasol League, but at Banyana Banyana level, the competition for places is so high which is great for women’s football in SA,ÔÇØ said Nsibande.ÔÇ£Right now, there is no time to think about birthday parties for Janine (Van Wyk) and myself but I am sure the plane trip back to SA on Monday will be a noisy and enjoyable one if we are able to see off the Tunisian challenge.ÔÇØ


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