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Banyana look to draw on Olympics experience at Cup of Nations
- Updated: September 20, 2016
Banyana Banyana captain Janine van Wyk says the national women’s side will be hoping to used the experience they gained at the recent Rio Olympics to go all the way at the 2016 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
Van Wyk’s side have been handed an interesting draw after they were placed alongside hosts Cameroon, Egypt and Zimbabwe in Group A .The draw took place at Palais des Sports in Yaounde, Cameroon and the tournament is scheduled to take place from 19 November to 3 December in Yaounde and Limbe.
The SA players are looking forward to the African women’s football showpiece. ‘It is a very interesting draw and being grouped with the hosts is never an easy task, more so because they are one of the powerhouses of African women’s football. This time they will be stronger than ever as they will be playing every single match in front of their home supporters who are expected to come out in numbers to the stadiums,’ said Van Wyk.
‘Zimbabwe will be another tough side to overcome as they are still fit and strong after all the experience gained at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Although they lost by a margin of goals, they showed tremendous character to score goals, which is something we lacked. They are very direct and will come out strong to show what they have learnt in Rio.
‘Egypt on the other hand are a very unpredictable team. We haven’t played them many times but what we do know is that all these teams are all working extremely hard to get ready for this upcoming event.’
In their group, South Africa are the second highest ranked country in fourth position on the continent and 48th in the world, while the hosts are third on the continent (47th in the world). Egypt are No9 on the continent (80th in the world) with Zimbabwe coming in at 13th spot on the continent and 94th in the world.
‘We’ve made a name for ourselves by putting up good performances against international teams as well as at the Olympics. We are also looking to improve our position from reaching fourth place in the 2014 AWCON and use the experience we got in Rio to go all the way,’ added Van Wyk.
Group B has defending champions Nigeria, with Mali, Ghana and Kenya who are making their debut. The top two teams in each group advance to the semi-finals.
Nigeria will be making their 12th appearance in the tournament – the highest by any nation. Hosts Cameroon, at their 11th tournament entry, same as South Africa and Ghana, closely follow them.
Mali, Zimbabwe and Egypt will be making their 6th, 4th and 2nd appearances respectively while Kenya will be playing in their first ever tournament. (Mali replaced Equatorial Guinea after they were disqualified for fielding an ineligible player).
Of the eight nations at the 2016 event, only Nigeria have won the tournament – a record nine times.