There is very little to separate Banyana Banyana and neighbours Zimbabwe going into Saturday’s friendly international encounter at the Sinaba Stadium in Daveyton. However, following a 5-0 mauling of Mozambique last Sunday, coach Joseph Mkhonza is brimming with confidence and hoping to continue with his winning streak.
Head-to-head, there is very little to separate the two teams having met five times in the last two years with each winning two and drawing the other.
“Encounters between Banyana Banyana and Zimbabwe are always tight but we hope to take a lead in our overall victories over them on Saturday. We want to make the nation proud and set the tone for Sunday’s Bafana Bafana match against Ethiopia,” said a confident Mkhonza. “But with Zimbabwe, it won’t be easy and we are expecting a tough encounter.”
Zimbabwe is ranked 88th in the Fifa ranking, 35 places below the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana but Mkhonza is not looking at rankings as a barometer for Saturday’s game.
“These are like derby matches. Zimbabwe normally does not want to lose against South Africa hence matches between the two sides in the last two years have always gone to the wire.”
Banyana Banyana were on song in the match against Mozambique and while Mkhonza is confident that the team will do well, he knows that Zimbabwe will be much tougher opponents.
Zimbabwe will be coming off a very inspirational 3 -1 away victory against Zambia so the team’s confidence will be high leading up to their clash with Banyana Banyana.
“Zimbabwe are a different ball game altogether from Mozambique so we are not expecting anything similar to last Sunday’s match against Mozambique. Our last few encounters with Zimbabwe have been highly contested and very close and this one will be no different. This game will give us the opportunity to look at and test the combinations that we selected in the game against Mozambique,” said Mkhonza.
Mkhonza will be relying on the experience of some of his older players to guide the new players in the squad.
Banyana Banyana captain Janine van Wyk said while her squad was like a well-oiled machine last Sunday, there are a few things that needed correction going into the match with their old rivals.
“As a team we are hoping to emulate Sunday’s performance when we play Zimbabwe. There were a few things that we could have done better in our game against Mozambique which we hope to have corrected by the time we play on Saturday,” said Janine van Wyk.