The South African women’s national team, Banyana Banyana are in their final stages of preparations to the biggest women’s football tournament in Africa, the ninth edition of the African Women’s Championships (AWC), which will be hosted in Namibia from 11 – 25 October. The South African women are scheduled to play yet another international friendly match against Botswana this coming Saturday, 13 September 2014, at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, kick-off at 15:00. Banyana Banyana’s qualification to compete at the African Women’s Championships came after a 13 – 0 win over the Union of Comoros in the first leg of the qualifier match, thereafter, Comoros withdrew from playing the second leg match in South Africa.
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 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.
Thus far, Banyana Banyana are yet to lose a match having won against Zambia, Namibia, Botswana Tanzania and a goalless draw against Zimbabwe. “We have had some good and tough outings in our recent international friendly matches and the goals and big margin 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 Banyana Banyana coach Vera Pauw, who 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 respectively play for Mamelodi Sundowns and Palace Super Falcons in the Gauteng division of the Sasol League. “We are not far from deciding the final make-up of the squad that will be representing South Africa in Namibia. We have the players in mind and we have to ensure that we get the right balance of the top players and the 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, combination play and getting the desired experience of playing in the heat during match situations against Botswana in Rustenburg 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 October 12th.