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Banyana fine tune
- Updated: July 5, 2012
The South African women’s football team head for Sportschule, Hennef in Germany on Friday for their final preparations for the London Olympic Games later this month.
Twenty-one players will make up the travelling squad, with Russia-based Nompumelelo Nyandeni joining her compatriots the next day (Saturday, 7 July) in Germany.
The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana will play two international friendly matches against Cameroon and the Olympic hosts, Great Britain during their time abroad.
In the first match, South Africa faces Cameroon in Lille, France on Wednesday, 11 July. The scheduled kick-off is at 2pm.
Cameroon will be the only other African country representing the continent at the Olympic Games. They have been drawn in Group E along with Great Britain, New Zealand, and Brazil.
South Africa has been drawn in Group F along with Japan, Canada and Sweden.
The second fixture will take place in Birmingham, England against Great Britain on Sunday, 15 July to conclude their overseas training camp. Kick-off is at 2.30pm (4.30pm SA Time).ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿ The squad will fly out of England on Monday 16 July and are expected back in the country the next day.
South Africa’s head coach Joseph Mkhonza is aware that this will be the last, and perhaps the most important tour for the team as they round up their preparations before competing against the world’s top athletes.
With several players coming from the Sasol League Championships that were held in Durban this past week, Mkhonza is hopeful that the players will carry the same energy and momentum to Europe. Six Banyana Banyana players played in the championships ÔÇô Zamandosi Cele (Durban Ladies); Leandra Smeda and Nocawe Skiti (Cape Town Ladies); Nothando Vilakazi and Portia Modise (Palace Super Falcons) and Sanah Mollo (Bloemfontein Celtic).
“The players that took part in the championship will be given time off to recover to avoid overworking them as we approach this very important phase of preparations. Most of the girls that went there took part, and I was very happy with their enthusiasm at the tournament. Defender Janine van Wyk’s rehabilitation is nearing conclusion and we hope she will be ready for our matches in Europe,” said Mkhonza.
Mkhonza adds that with the time left to prepare for the Olympics, he would like to fine-tune his squad and use the experience gained during the African Women’s Cup qualifiers to get the team to a state of readiness for London.
“This is the last chance to work on any of our shortcomings. We have to finalise our strategy for the Olympics and build on what we’ve been working on since our qualification. The matches will help us gauge how far we have come and give us a state of our readiness. This is also the opportunity to make sure the players understand the importance of competing on the Olympic stage,” added Mkhonza.
Banyana Banyana are already in camp ahead of their departure and will be training at the Wits Education campus in Johannesburg.