Pauw Eager for Cyprus Cup Lessons

The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana are in away internationally to take part in the annual Cyprus Women’s Cup from 2-12 March, arriving on the island last week for thorough preparations, and enjoyed a well-deserved day off on Sunday.

(Scroll down to view the 2015 Cyprus Cup Groups and Fixures, South Africa’s record in the Cyprus Cup, and a list of the tournament’s winners and runners-up)

This is a global invitational tournament for selected women national teams and has been held annually in Cyprus since 2008. Although the competition takes place in Cyprus, the hosts have yet to take part in the competition.

“These are the kind of tournaments we should be playing, if we are to see our team improve,” said Banyana Banyana head coach, Vera Pauw.

“The good thing is that we will be facing some of the big names in women’s football and it comes at a time when we are preparing for participation in the upcoming All-Africa Games and Olympic qualifiers. We could not have asked for better preparation as this will stand the girls in good stead.

“It is a good opportunity for the team and the country and will help us measure ourselves against the best in the business because this is a top tournament.”

The Cyprus Women’s Cup uses the following two-phase format: The first phase is a group stage in which the twelve invited teams are divided into three groups of four teams, which sees South Africa in Group C alongside Mexico, Belgium and the Czech Republic.

Group A is made up of Canada, Italy, Korea Republic and Scotland while Group B comprises Australia, England, Finland and Netherlands.

The teams in Group A and Group B consist of higher-ranked teams and are the only teams actually in contention for the championship. Group C consists of lower-ranked teams.

Each group plays a round-robin of three games, with each team playing one match against each of the other teams in the same group.

The second phase is a single “finals day”, in which six games involving all twelve teams are played to determine the tournament’s final standings.

South Africa will kick off the tournament with a clash against Mexico on Wednesday, 4 March, their second match against Belgium on Friday, 6 March, followed by an encounter against the Czech Republic on Monday, 9 March.

This is the eighth edition of the tournament and South Africa has made four appearances at the competition. They started participating in 2009, finishing in sixth place, and eighth the following year.

They missed 2011 event. In 2012 they ended in position 10 and 11th in 2013. They did not attend last year’s edition.

Canada, Netherlands and Scotland have been ever-present in the competition since inception – and it is no surprise that Canada have the most wins – three. They won the inaugural tournament after they defeated the United States of America 3-2 in the final.

France are the defending champions following their 2-nil victory over England to lift the trophy last year.

Cyprus Women’s Cup 2-12 March 2015:
Group A – Larnaca
Canada
Italy
Republic of Korea
Scotland

Group B – Larnaca
Australia
England
Finland
Netherlands

Group C – Ayia Napa
South Africa
Belgium
Czech Republic
Mexico

Tournament Schedule:
Wednesday 4 March
14.30 Republic of Korea – Italy GSP Nicosia
17.30 Scotland – Canada GSP Nicosia
14.30 Finland – England GSZ Larnaca
17.30 Netherlands – Australia GSZ Larnaca
14.30 Mexico – South Africa Tasos Marko Paralimni
17.30 Czech Republic – Belgium Tasos Marko Paralimni
Friday 6 March
14.30 Canada – Republic of Korea GSZ, Larnaca
17.30 Italy – Scotland GSZ, Larnaca
14.30 Finland – Netherlands GSP Nicosia,
17.30 Australia – England GSP Nicosia
14.30 Belgium – South Africa Tasos Marko, Paralimni
17.30 Czech Republic – Mexico Tasos Marko, Paralimni
Monday 9 March
14.30 Italy – Canada GSP Nicosia
14.30 Scotland – Republic of Korea GSZ, Larnaca
17.30 Netherlands – England GSP Nicosia
17.30 Australia – Finland GSZ, Larnaca
14.30 South Africa – Czech Republic Tasos Marko, Paralimni
17.30 Mexico – Belgium Tasos Marko, Paralimni

South Africa in the Cyprus Women’s Cup:
2008 – Did Not Participate
2009 – 6th position
2010 – 8th
2011 – Did Not Participate
2012 – 10th
2013 – 11th
2014 – Did Not Participate

Tournament winners (finalists in brackets):
2008 – Canada (USA)
2009 – ENG (Canada)
2010 – Canada (New Zealand)
2011 – Canada (Netherlands)
2012 – France (Canada)
2013 – ENG (Canada)
2014 – France (ENG)

Photo 1 caption: Cyprus Womens’ Cup Banner. Photo: Banyana Banyana on Facebook

(With editing by gsport)

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