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Banyana in Netherlands for Olympic warm-up games
- Updated: June 1, 2016
Banyana Banyana’s next step to the Rio Olympics has been taken with the team having arrived in the Netherlands for two matches against the host nation.
The Sasol-sponsored national women’s football side arrived at Waalwijk after almost 11 hours in the air plus a further four hour road trip.
Coach Vera Pauw’s side will play the Netherlands on Saturday and next Tuesday (3pm and 7pm respectively).
Both clashes will be played at the Mandemakers Stadium in Waalwijk.
Technical Director of Women’s Football at SAFA, Fran Hilton-Smith, saw the team off and wished them well.
‘This is the beginning of our final preparations for the Olympics. As you know the Netherlands is the only country that has come out to play South Africa. They played us twice many years ago, and during that time coach Vera was with them so she knows what they are like and they know what we are like.
‘It is now a fitting tribute that we go back to the Netherlands in our preparations for the Olympics. It is an opportunity for many of you to see the world, and it gives you a chance to live and learn as you play football – and that is the aim of SAFA, to empower people with knowledge and experience,’ said Hilton-Smith.
She added that the trip was also to remind players that they are ambassadors.
‘You have two matches to play in The Netherlands, and after that you face the USA who are the world champions – so we couldn’t have had a better preparation for the Olympics as we go forward with the plans that are unfolding.
‘It’s also a big thanks to Sasol for all the support because without money you cannot do anything. I would like to wish you well and remind you to carry the flag of South Africa high. Remember you are the ambassadors of our country and everything you do or say, you are the reflection of the South African Football Association, and South Africa. I hope that you learn as much as you can, so that you are better prepared when we travel to the Olympics,’ she said.
The Orange Lionesses are ranked 13th in the world, while South Africa are lying 54th.
Next month the South Africans play world champions, the USA on 9 July at Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois in the USA.