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Banyana coach in Rio as excitement mounts for Olympic draw
- Updated: April 14, 2016
Banyana Banyana head coach Vera Pauw is in Rio de Janeiro for Thursday’s 2016 Rio Olympic Games draw.
The draw has been brought forward by half an hour to 3pm SA time.
Before she left, Pauw ensured that Banyana Banyana qualify for the second major tournament in one year – the 2016 Cameroon Women Africa Cup of Nations scheduled for November/December this year.
The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana have already clinched their place in Rio.
‘I am excited for the players, the technical team, the support staff and everyone who played a role to ensure that we get it right and qualify for Women’s AFCON in Cameroon. Botswana gave us a scare in the first match and that gave us a wake-up call. We were then able to rectify our mistakes and they stood no chance in our backyard. This match came in the middle of preparations for the Olympics and we had to fit it in, now we can fully focus on our preparations for the Olympic Games,’ said Pauw.
‘As I have been saying they will now take a slightly different training routine because you don’t want the team to peak at the wrong time, so we gradually have to work our way up. And after the draw we will be able to confirm some practice matches as those will be equally important for our preparations.’
Banyana Banyana defeated Botswana 3-0 on Tuesday night with goals from Sanah Mollo, Mamello Makhabane and Nompulelelo Nyandeni for a 5-0 aggregate score following the 2-0 victory in the first leg.
This is the 10th time in a row that South Africa is represented at the continental championship, and the second time in a row that the women have qualiied for the Olympic Games.
SAFA President, Dr Danny Jordaan said the critical thing now was for the team to compete with the best in the forthcoming tournaments. ‘You have proven tonight that you can play the best football on your day. You have always given your best and you also showed that if you believe in your abilities you can make it.
‘The fact that you have qualified for two major tournaments in one year makes it all sweeter. It is also an incredible feat that you have never missed out on the women’s AFCON since you first played in 1995. That is a wonderful record,’ said Jordaan.
‘You have made us all proud, you have put a smile on all our faces and for that we are extremely proud of you.’
History of SA’s participation in the Women Africa Cup of Nations
1995 – second place
1998 – group stages
2000 – second place
2004 – group stages
2006 – third place
2008 – second place
2010 – third place
2012 – second place
2014 – fourth place
2016 – Can they go all the way?