Banyana Banyana striker Andisiwe Mgcoyi is confident they will do well against France when they meet in an international friendly match on Sunday, 22 January in Saint-Denis, Reunion Islands.
Kickoff is at 19h00.
The Europeans are ranked 3rd in the world and 2nd in EUFA while South Africa is ranked 5th on the continent and 51st in the world.
Mgcoyi says playing against top nations can only do wonders for the SASOL-sponsored Banyana Banyana.
“This game is good for us because France is up there with the best, and playing against them will really help our game improve even more.
“Some of the players in the current Banyana Banyana squad faced the likes of New Zealand, USA and the Netherlands,” continued Mgcoyi, “And you could see how that helped lift their performance at the Olympic Games in Brazil where they also played other big guns like Brazil, Sweden and China.
“So this game is really crucial for us to try and improve as much as we can. We know it will not be easy but we are up for the task,” said Mgcoyi after their training session in Johannesburg.
The Mamelodi Sundowns striker missed out on the Olympics but was part of the squad that was in Cameroon for the 2016 CAF Africa Women’s Cup of Nations.
Mgcoyi admits that lack of goals at the tournament was their downfall.
“After the AWCON, where we finished fourth, and I think mainly because we didn’t score goals, I went back home and had a good look at my performance. If you think about it, at the SASOL League games I score many goals, and I asked myself what could be the reason.
“The fact is that the standard of the league and international matches are very different, but we cannot use that as an excuse, we have to work harder until we get it right,” she added.
“We play well in the national team but don’t convert our chances, which is something we have been focusing on. As a striker I have to score goals because that is the job I have been called up for – and we must remember that scoring goals starts at training and it will be easier in the games, so it is all work in progress. But we are confident we will get a good result against France.”
The South African Senior Women’s National Team will have their final training session on home soil on Wednesday, 18 January before jetting off to Reunion Islands on Thursday, 19 January.
This will be the second meeting between the two nations – France won the first clash 3-2 back in 2009.
Banyana Banyana Squad to face France:
Andile Dlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies)
Yolula Tsawe (JVW FC)
Monnye Theledi (Kanatla Ladies)
Nothando Vilakazi (Super Falcons)
Janine van Wyk (JVW FC)
Noko Matlou (MaIndis FC)
Bambanani Mbane (Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies)
Lebogang Mabatle (TUKS Pretoria)
Lebohang Ramalepe (Ma-Indies FC)
Zenhle Chabaku (Bloemfontein Celtic)
Amanda Dlamini (JVW FC)
Leandra Smeda (UWC Ladies)
Thembi Kgatlana (UWC Ladies)
Refiloe Jane (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Silindile Ngubane (Durban Ladies)
Gabriela Salgado (JVW FC)
Linda Motlhalo (JVW FC)
Shiwe Nogwanya (Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies)
Andisiwe Mgcoyi (Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies)
Jermaine Seoposenwe (Samford University, USA)
Rhoda Mulaudzi (Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies)
Bontle Mashilo (TUT-Pretoria)
Photo 1 caption: The SASOL Banyana Banyana squad pictured during the media open day, in Johannesburg on Tuesday, 17 January, 2017. Photo: @Banyana_Banyana on Twitter
Photo 2 caption: Skipper Janine van Wyk leads the SASOL Banyana Banyana’s squad for the international friendly against Euro no. 2 France in Reunion on Sunday. Photo: @Banyana_Banyana on Twitter
Photo 3 caption: Banyana Banyana striker Andisiwe Mgcoyi relates the team’s focus on putting the ball in the net, a key concern identified during their 2016 CAF Africa Women’s Cup of Nations campaign. Photo: @Banyana_Banyana on Twitter
Photo 4 caption: Caretaker Head Coach Desiree Ellis pictured bringing fun elements into the team practice. The South African Senior Women’s National Team will have their final training session on home soil on Wednesday before jetting off to Reunion Islands on Thursday, 19 January. Photo: @Banyana_Banyana on Twitter
With editing by gsport