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Banyana off on tour
- Updated: February 6, 2012
Our national senior women’s football side, Banyana Banyana will be looking to shine on their 18-day ‘Mission South America’ before competing in the Cyprus Women’s Cup from 28 February to 6 March.
Twenty two players will make up the travelling party.
USA-based goalkeeper Roxanne Barker and experienced central defender Janine van Wyk have been added to the group that spent three weeks focusing on endurance and strength training in Stellenbosch last month.
Under the guidance of head coach Joseph ‘Skheshekheshe’ Mkhonza, the Sasol-sponsored national team will jet out of South Africa on Wednesday and be based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where they will play against a Brazilian club side, and the national senior women’s teams of Argentina, Peru and Chile.
The tournament in Cyprus requires 22 players to be registered by each country, so with experienced midfielders Russian-based Nompumelelo Nyandeni and USA-based Kylie Ann Louw joining Banyana Banyana in Cyprus, two players from the travelling party will have to return home.
Those players will be decided towards the end of the Brazil tour.
Banyana Banyana will leave South America for Cyprus on Thursday, 23 February. ÔÇ£Following the highly successful national training camp held in Stellenbosch last month, it was crucial for Banyana Banyana to have a few friendly matches before competing against some of the world’s leading women’s football nations at the Cyprus Women’s Cup,ÔÇØ said Mkhonza.
Last year, Banyana Banyana played mainly against African opposition en route to 2012 London Olympic Games qualification and representation at the All-Africa Games held in Mozambique. ÔÇ£It’s good for the team that the players are getting opportunities to play against different styles of football like against the South American teams and then Asian, Australasian and European opponents at the Cyprus Women’s Cup,ÔÇØ added Mkhonza.
For the Cyprus Women’s Cup, SA has been drawn in a group along with South Korea, New Zealand and Northern Ireland.
The Banyana Banyana support team has also received a major boost, with the vastly experienced South African Under-23 national team coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba roped in as the technical advisor to Mkhonza.
The other newcomer is Brazil-based Bafana Bafana physical trainer Francisco ÔÇ£ChicoÔÇØ Gonzalez, and there is also additional support in the form of a bio kinetics consultant, masseur and a training session and match analyst.