Banyana Complete Botswana Prep

Banyana Banyana have completed their preparations for the first leg clash of the 2016 Cameroon Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCN) qualfiier against Botswana.  The clash takes place on Saturday at the Lobatse Sports Complex in Botswana.  Kick off is at 16:00.

The South Africans have been in the neighbouring country since Tuesday, 5 April to prepare for the encounter.  Having already qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, some believe South Africa is under pressure to book their place at AWCN, a competition they have not missed out on since they first participated in 1995.  Coach Vera Pauw says:  ‘Pressure is always there in football and we have to deal with it in a positive way.  But at the moment we are not thinking about the Olympics, the focus is on the AWCN and our aim is to be in Cameroon.  We will do everything we can to ensure victory because I have been saying it is important that this country qualifies for major tournaments.  The only concern we have is with the pitch at the match venue, and it should be a concern for all of us for the improvement of women’s football.  We trained there on Thursday (7 April) and we were not impressed because it is not in a good condition – and this is not just for my players but for both teams.  It has holes and is uneven in some places which is a danger to all the players and I hope something is done about it, if not in this match then for future games.’

The Sasol-sponsored South Africans go into this clash on the back of two international friendly matches against 2016 AWCN hosts Cameroon where they won the first clash 2-0 and followed it up with a 2-all draw.  On the other hand Botswana scored 11 goals without a reply from Mauritius in the last round of the AWCN qualifiers.  South Africa got a bye.

Botswana head coach Gaolethloo Nkutlwisang says:  ‘The South Africans are ranked 4th on the continent and they did not get there by default, they are a very good team so we cannot afford to underestimate them.  But we are well prepared because we also want to qualify for the women’s continental championship.  The commitment and hardwork shown by our players at training will show our readiness on the day, we are here to win.’  Her words are echoed by team captain Bonang Otlhagile, who says:  ‘The moral in the team is very high, playing South Africa is always a big game and we aim to show them how prepared we are for this clash.  This is the kind of match where no player needs motivation.  We will not show them any respect as we are playing in our backyard.  Normally luck is on their side when we face each other but this time it will be on ours.’  The second leg will be played on Tuesday, 12 April 2016 at the Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa.

Both teams will have little time to prepare for the return fixture as they are travelling on Sunday, 10 April to South Africa.  Kick off for this clash is at 19:00.