The South African Women’s Senior National Team, Banyana Banyana are set to depart for Libreville, this afternoon to take on The Panthers of Gabon in an Olympic qualifier match. The first leg clash is scheduled for 15:30 kick-off at Stade Augustin Monedan this coming Saturday. The Sasol-sponsored South Africans held their last training session at AW Muller Stadium at the University of Johannesburg prior to their departure today.
Banyana Banyana will be looking to go past Gabon in the bid to progress to the next round of the qualifiers, where they will either face the winners of the match between Botswana and Kenya. University of North West goalkeeper, Asa Phillistus Rabalao has been called in while USA based Roxanne Barker was not released by her club. Banyana boss Vera Pauw says: ‘We have been preparing for the match accordingly and all the players are hyped – up for the match against Gabon.’
Pauw’s charges will go into the match with little information on The Panthers of Gabon, as the two nations have never played against each other before. She says: ‘We have been trying to get information on Gabon, but it has been hard. All we were able to find out is that they last played an international match in 2010, one against Ivory Coast. Therefore we had to find out the playing style of football in the country as our starting point.’ Captain Janine Van Wyk believes that the team has what it takes to book one of the only two spots available for African teams at the Rio 2016 Olympics: ‘Obviously our main objective is to qualify for the Olympics, the last time we made it was in 2012 and we believe we can replicate that.’
Photo credit: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix