Banyana Banyana’s preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games are in full swing at the Nike Football Training Centre in Pimville, Soweto.
The South African Women’s Senior National team is holding regular training camps to ensure the players are ready when the tournament kicks off in August.
“We have fallen behind in terms of fitness if you compare to when we played against Equatorial Guinea in October last year. Our main priority is to keep the fitness levels up.
“I am glad we are back early in the year so we can get those levels to the highest intensity and to grow even further so we can be fitter and stronger and be able to compete,” said Banyana Banyana head coach Vera Pauw.
On Tuesday, the players underwent tests conducted by the University of Pretoria.
“We are conducting these tests, which will be regular so we can ensure that we keep track and monitor the recovery rate of the players so that we know how much work load we need to put.
“When you don’t recover well, it affects your performance. So it is crucial that we get it right,” added Pauw.
On the playing personnel, goalkeeper Roxanne Barker has left her Iceland club to focus her attention on the preparations for the Olympics. The training programme is jam-packed and will require players to be available all the time.
“It’s nice to see such commitment and players willing to sacrifice so much to be part of the final squad. We have others who have taken leave at work and school and it gives one pleasure to see so much enthusiasm from the players.
“Many know that this is a once-in-a-life time opportunity,” observed the coach.
Meanwhile midfielder Amanda Dlamini has missed the two camps in the new year due to family commitments.
“We would have loved her to be here with us but in this case, family comes first. We have given her a training programme that she is following so she can be active and is not left behind too much.
“But obviously, we would love her to be with us so that she is on par with the other players. She can only do that once she is ready, and we understand her situation,” concluded Pauw.
Banyana Banyana will break from camp on Friday, 29 January and return on Monday, 1 February.
Olympic Squad Provisions:
- Only 18 (eighteen) players will be registered to play for the tournament.
- An additional 4 (four) will be accredited but will only feature in the competition if there is an injury to any of the 18. The four will travel, stay and train with the team during the tournament.
Photo 1 Caption: Head Coach Vera Pauw (left) and SASOL Banyana Banyana captain Janine van Wyk demonstrate a drill during the Banyana Banyana training camp at the Nike Training Centre in Pimville, Soweto, on 27 January 2016. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix
Photo 2 Caption: Midfielder Sanah Mollo leads the charge of the cones as Banyana Banyana are put through their paces during the training camp’s media day, at the Nike Training Centre on Wednesday. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix
Photo 3 Caption: Striker Thembi Kgatlana takes to the air to maintain possession of the ball, as coach Pauw and her coaching team evaluate the camp squad members’ skills and fitness during training and recovery. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix
Photo 4 Caption: Coach Pauw goes head-to-head with SA striker Sanah Mollo. The first female Dutch player to turn pro in Italy and boasting 89 international caps for the Netherlands, Pauw is a rare type of coach who can talk the talk, and walk the walk. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix
With editing by gsport