Banyana Banyana will kick off their preparations for the CAF African Women Championship when they play Zimbabwe in a warm-up match in Dobsonville, Soweto on Saturday (19h00).
This will be the team’s first match since the London Olympics and Coach Joseph Mkhonza is keen to see whether they’ve improved after playing in their first ever Olympic Games. “I want us to fix all the mistakes we made at the Olympics, and this game will give us an opportunity to see where we have improved, and where we still need to improve.”
Mkhonza is also looking forward to trying out some new combinations and giving new caps Silindile Ngubane and Katlego Moletsane a run. “I would like to play all the girls if I can. Every person in the team must fight for their place. We must be completely ready by the time we play our first game in Equatorial Guinea,” he says.
Captain Amanda Dlamini says the spirit in the team is really great right now. “We are feeling pretty good especially ahead of our first warm-up match,” She says. “We would like to win the game but our focus is on seeing whether we have improved as a team. We just want to go out there and play the game well.”
“The coach also wants to try out some new tactics now that everyone has seen us play.”
Both Mkhonza and Dlamini believe the two new caps have added something new to the team. 17 year-old goalkeeper Moletsane and 25-year-old striker Ngubane have really impressed for their respective clubs and the coach believes they will do the same for South Africa.
Durban Ladies F.C’s Ngubane still can’t believe she was chosen to be part of the squad. Ngubane scored 11 goals at the Sasol League National Championships in July and Banyana will be hoping she does the same for them.
“I feel so honoured to be part of the team. Everyone has made me feel so welcome and comfortable since I got here,” Ngubane says.
This will be her first trip outside the South Africa and Ngubane says she has received some valuable advice from the National Women’s Football team’s highest goal scorer, Portia Modise.
“She told me not to be scared. She said I must just concentrate and play my natural game. I mustn’t feel like anyone is better than me, because they’ve been in the team longer.”
Banyana will play their second warm-up game against Zimbabwe on Tuesday at the Sinaba stadium in Daveyton (15h00 kick-off) before leaving on Wednesday for an 8-day training camp Yaoundé, Cameroon. The CAF African Women Championship will start on October 28.