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Banyana play Botswana in AWC warm-up clash
- Updated: September 10, 2014
Banyana Banyana, the national team women’s soccer team are busy with their final stages of preparations to the biggest women’s football tournament in Africa, the 9th edition of the African Women’s Championships (AWC), hosted in Namibia from 11-25 October.
The South African women are scheduled to play yet another international friendly match against Botswana at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on Saturday.
Banyana Banyana’s qualification to compete at the African Women’s Championships came after a 13-0 win over Comoros in the first leg of the qualifier match. Comoros later withdrew from playing the second leg match in South Africa.
Coach Vera Pauw and her charges have been hard at work for the past three months preparing for a tough competition at the Championships which will also be used as qualifiers for to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The top three finishers at the tournament will automatically qualify to compete at the World Cup scheduled for Canada next year.
Preparations and planning for Namibia began immediately after qualification, with Pauw keeping the team busy playing friendly matches with neighbouring countries. To date, Sasol Banyana Banyana are yet to lose a match, having beaten Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and Tanzania and drawing against Zimbabwe.
‘We have had some good and tough outings in our recent international friendly matches and the goals and big margin of victories shows that we are capable of creating chances but the team can do better as we head closer to competing at the Championships,” said Pauw
Pauw is in the process of finalising her team for Namibia with just a month left. Thus far, she has trimmed the squad to 26 players, leaving out defender Amanda Sister and striker Kgadi Makoma who play for Mamelodi Sundowns and Palace Super Falcons respectively in the Gauteng division of the Sasol League.
‘We are not far from deciding the final make-up of the squad. We have the players in mind and we have to ensure that we get the right balance of top players and new recruits; however, we must pick a squad of high quality players.
‘The next few weeks with the girls will see us combine all the tactics and combination play and getting the desired experience of playing in the heat during match situations against Botswana on Saturday and we are also thrilled that we have the opportunity to test our strength against big opponents such as the Ivory Coast,” she added.
The Sasol-sponsored women’s national team have been drawn in Group B, a tough group together with Cameroon, Algeria and Ghana. They play Cameroon in the opening match on 12 October.