The South African Senior Women’s National Team (Banyana Banyana) has completed preparations for the return leg of the Rio 2016 Olympic qualifiers against Gabon. The clash will be staged on Sunday, 31 May at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto. Kickoff is at 15:00.
The Sasol-sponsored South Africans go into the match with an advantage following a 3-2 win from the first leg played in Libreville last weekend (Saturday, 23 May). Jermaine Seoposenwe scored two goals in the first half before Sanah Mollo sealed victory with a second half goal. The squad had its final training session at the match venue on Saturday afternoon (30 May).
Coach Vera Pauw says: ‘We are ready, we have done everything we had to do and we will see in the match if we will explode as is necessary. What we need to keep on doing is to find the space behind their defence because we are very dangerous when we can do that. What we have to do better is quicker positioning and play with quicker, more directional play that means in our buildup we need to be quicker and sharper, we should not allow the opposition any time to re-organise.’ Following the scare of conceding two goals in Gabon, Pauw is not taking any chances. She says: ‘There is a need to be concerned about the opposition more so because they managed to score two goals – albeit from our mistakes. They have two good players and, if we are not sharper and alert, they have shown they can score out of anything. So we need to be very alert and concentrate fully. I also think we have improved a lot especially in our positional play – we have worked on that constantly and in team work it is difficult to get that right, and that is why we focused on that a lot this week.’
The overall winner between Banyana Banyana and the female Panthers of Gabon will proceed to the second round where they will face the victors in first round clash between Botswana and Kenya.