The South African Senior Women’s National Team (Banyana Banyana) departs for Sportschule, Hennef in Germany on Friday, 06 July 2012 for the final preparations of the London Olympic Games scheduled to start later this month (27 July).
Twenty-one players will make up the travelling squad, with Russia-based Nompumelelo Nyandeni joining her compatriots the next day (Saturday, 7 July) in Germany.
The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana will play two international friendly matches against Cameroon and the Olympic hosts, Great Britain during their time abroad. In the first match, South Africa faces Cameroon in Lille, France on Wednesday, 11 July. Kickoff is at 14h00.
Cameroon will be the only other African country representing the continent at the Olympic Games. They have been drawn in Group E along with Great Britain, New Zealand, and Brazil, while South Africa has been drawn in Group F along with Japan, Canada and Sweden.
The second fixture will take place in Birmingham, England against Great Britain on Sunday, 15 July to conclude their over-seas training camp. Kickoff is at 14h30 (16h30 SA Time). The squad will fly out of England on Monday, 16 July and is expected back in the country on Tuesday, 17 July 2012.
South Africa’s head coach Joseph Mkhonza is aware that this will be the last, and perhaps the most important tour for the team as they round up their preparations before competing against the world’s top athletes.
With several players coming from the Sasol League Championships that were held in Durban this past week, Mkhonza is hopeful that the players will carry the same energy and momentum to Europe. Six Banyana Banyana players played in the championships – Zamandosi Cele (Durban Ladies); Leandra Smeda and Nocawe Skiti (Cape Town Ladies); Nothando Vilakazi and Portia Modise (Palace Super Falcons) and Sanah Mollo (Bloemfontein Celtic).
“The players that took part in the championship will be given time off to recover to avoid overworking them as we approach this very important phase of preparations. Most of the girls that went there took part, and I was very happy with their enthusiasm at the tournament. Defender Janine van Wyk’s rehabilitation is nearing conclusion and we hope she will be ready for our matches in Europe,” said Mkhonza.
Mkhonza adds that with the time left to prepare for the Olympics, he would like to fine-tune his squad and use the experience gained during the African Women’s Cup qualifiers to get the team to a state of readiness for London.
“This is the last chance to work on any of our shortcomings. We have to finalise our strategy for the Olympics and build on what we’ve been working on since our qualification. The matches will help us gauge how far we have come and give us a state of our readiness. This is also the opportunity to make sure the players understand the importance of competing on the Olympic stage,” added Mkhonza.
Banyana Banyana is already in camp ahead of their departure and will be training at the Wits Education campus in Johannesburg.
The Banyana Banyana squad travelling to Germany and England: Thokozile Mndaweni (Goalkeeper) University of Johannesburg Roxanne Barker (Goalkeeper) Pepperdine University (USA) Andile Dlamini (Goalkeeper) Sundowns Ladies FC Refiloe Jane (Defender) Sundowns Ladies FC Lebogang Mabatle (Defender) Hallelujah Zebra Force Nothando Vilakazi (Defender) Palace Super Falcons Amanda Sister (Defender) Liverpool Ladies Janine van Wyk (Defender) Palace Super Falcons Zamandosi Cele (Defender) Durban Ladies Leandra Smeda (Midfielder) Cape Town Roses Nocawe Skiti (Midfielder) Cape Town Roses Kylie-Ann Louw (Midfielder) Stephen F Austin (USA) Amanda Dlamini (Midfielder) University of Johannesburg Mary Ntsweng (Midfielder) TUT Ladies FC Noko Matlou (Midfielder) University of Johannesburg Portia Modise (Midfielder) Palace Super Falcons Gabisile Hlumbane (Midfielder) Kovsies Ladies FC Sanah Mollo (Striker) Bloemfontien Celtics Robyn Moodaly (Striker) High Performance Centre Nompumelelo Nyandeni (Striker) FC Rossiyanka (Russia) Andisiwe Mgcoyi (Striker) Sundowns Ladies FC Jermaine Seoposenwe (Striker) Santos