Springbok Women’s Sevens captain Zenay Jordaan says her team owes it to themselves to meet the qualification criteria for the 2016 Rio Olympics Games when they take to the field in the Africa Women’s Qualifier on 26 and 27 September in Johannesburg. The other participating countries are Kenya, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Madagascar, Senegal, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana. The Qualifier will be hosted at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park, with South Africa lining up against Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Uganda in the pool stages.
Jordaan says: ‘We are looking forward to the Olympic Qualifier. This is an important tournament for us because we entered the season with this as one of our main goals, and we would like to make up for the disappointment of losing our place on the World Rugby Women’s World Series in Ireland last month. We have worked hard at training this year and hopefully that will show in our performances in Johannesburg.’
Jordaan was confident about the team’s hopes of meeting the qualifying criteria and says: ‘I have no doubt we could do it. We believe in ourselves, and with all the work we have put in, we owe it to ourselves to qualify.’ Should the Springbok Women’s Sevens qualify for the Olympic Games, the ultimate decision on whether they will be able to participate in the international showpiece will lie with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC). Jordaan, however, looked at the positives in the lead-up to the qualifier and says: ‘Our Olympic fate is no longer in our hands. All we can do is to meet the qualifying criteria, and hopefully we can achieve that. If it is meant to be it will be; and if we do not go to Rio, at least we will have the peace of mind of knowing that we won the African title.’
With only two weeks left to prepare for the Africa qualifier, Jordaan said they have followed the same training routine as that for the World Series this season. Our preparation has been the same as that for the other tournaments this year because we believe we are on the right track in terms of the way we want to play. This year on the World Series we improved our attack and defence significantly, so we would like to build on that, and hopefully this time we can use our chances well and get the desired results.’
The team will depart for Johannesburg on Sunday.
Springbok Women’s Sevens Olympic Qualifier pool fixtures:
Saturday, 26 September 2015
10:00 – SA vs Zambia
11:40 – SA vs Namibia
14:00 – SA vs Zimbabwe
Sunday, 27 September 2015
11:00 – SA vs Uganda
Photo credit: Wojie Photography