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Banyana look for a jump-start to Olympic campaign

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The senior national women’s football side, Banyana Banyana, believe a good showing in their international friendly match against New Zealand on Thursday here in Rio de Janeiro will spur them on for their Rio Olympics opening match against Sweden.
The clash against New Zealand is the final warm-up encounter for both teams ahead of the start of the world’s biggest spectacle.
Banyana Banyana kick off the Games with a clash against Sweden next Wednesday.
Coach Vera Pauw’s charges have already had two training sessions since their arrival in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.
Said top striker Jermaine Seoposenwe, who is attending her first Games: ‘It feels good to be here finally, even though it still feels like it is taking forever for the Games to start, but it is good to finally be in the Olympic Village.
‘We also got some training under our belt and we are trying to get ready for our friendly, hopefully we can get a good result out of that/
‘I believe we need that, and not just a good performance but a win because even though we played well against teams like the USA and The Netherlands, losses are not what we wanted.
‘Getting a win in that match would be good for the team as a whole and it will increase the confidence of trying to get goals, which is what we have lacked in. And so it would be good if we could get a positive result and take it to the tournament.’
The South Africans have been in camps since November 2015 and have had friendly matches against the likes of Cameroon, Zimbabwe, The Netherlands and the USA.
Seoposenwe adds that it has been a great preparation, which has put the team in a better position.
‘Yes it has been very good, and I believe the team is ready in terms of organisation and tactics. I think we have learned so much. We also have the determination, which we showed against the US, the best team in the world. So I believe we are ready but there are still a couple of things we need to adjust, alter and get better at,’ she added.
‘The team has definitely grown from where we were a few months ago, and you could see that from the performance against the USA, so we are ready and very excited for the game (against Sweden) to come because there is something we bring to the table that no one else does.’
South Africa competed in the 2012 London Olympic Games, but could not get out of the group phase. They would like to better that in Rio.
‘I think we will do well, hopefully the team will rally together and focus on our first game and get a good result. That would be really important for us in terms of getting out of the group because the first game is always very important,’ said the Banyana Banyana striker.
‘Tactically, physically and mentally we are almost there, so as the next game (New Zealand) comes it will help in terms of getting to the point where we want to be. From there we will be able to tell if we are still lacking and so I’m excited and everyone is focused on the task at hand and hopefully we can get a good result out of our first game.’


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