Head Coach Vera Pauw and the SASOL Banyana Banyana coaching team has pruned the 35 players who have attended camps down to 29, and she took time to explain what awaits the remaining 29 in their ambitions to represent SA at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Banyana Banyana are back in camp to continue preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, which will take place in August.
“We have not had much rest because we want to maintain the momentum that got us qualification to Rio,” said Banyana Banyana head coach, Vera Pauw. “Although we performed above expectation there is still a lot to be done, and a huge gap to fill for us to be ready for the competition.
The South African Senior Women’s National Team qualified for the Games after defeating Equatorial Guinea 1-0 in a hard-fought second leg clash that took place in October last year with a 62nd-minute goal from Jermaine Seoposenwe.
“The best 12 teams are in the Olympics so we need to do more, that is why we had training camps in November and December to get back to match fitness; otherwise we would have to start afresh before the Olympics if we had taken a break after the Equatorial Guinea match.
“It is the only way we can have the team ready for the Games. We want to go there and make a huge difference, not just make up the numbers. We are unfortunate that we don’t have competitive matches unlike most u23 Men’s National Team who play week in week out. So for us, this programme is very crucial and we must make good use of it.
“Between now and the Olympics, we will have training matches as well as friendly matches to ensure that we prepare thoroughly for the Olympics. We are also fortunate enough however that we will have qualifying matches for the African Women’s Championships, and that will help a great deal,” continued Pauw.
“The full preparation programme has been set out in such a way that the players not only enjoy it but also are ready when the time comes. I must also thank SAFA for allowing us to go this route as we will benefit immensely unlike leaving it until late and closer to the tournament.
Three USA-based players, Robyn Moodaly, Kelso Peskin and Jermaine Seoposenwe are not in camp, but the coach is satisfied with arrangements: “There will always be challenges when it comes to camp, but we are confident a workable solution will be found.
Pauw emphasised that opportunity required sacrifice: “Yes, we did well by qualifying but we are well aware there is still a lot of room for improvement. We have spoken to the players, and they know a lot of sacrifices will have to be made if you are in the final team.
“For instance, those working will take extended leave and those studying will also do the same and will have to write their exams next year,” said Pauw. “But they will still be studying so that they don’t forget anything and have to start afresh next year. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many and they all understand that.
Stressing the commitment required of the players, Pauw explained: “Only 18 (players) will be registered to play, with an additional four getting accredited for the tournament, but will only feature in the competition if there is an injury to any of the 18.
“According to the rules, the four will travel, stay and train with us during the tournament. However, at the end of this month, we will register a big number of players to be on the system for the tournament, and we can only select from that number.
“I am very excited and can’t even describe the feeling,” Pauw concluded. “We have an opportunity to make things work, an opportunity to reach our true potential and I believe we can get to where want to be, where we need to be.
“All it takes is hard work and dedication from all parties. We have to pull in one direction because together we are stronger!”
Banyana Banyana Squad – January 2016 Camp:
- Roxanne Barker (Thor/KA) Iceland
- Andile Dlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies FC) Johannesburg
- Mapaseka Mpuru (HPC) Pretoria
- Mpho Teffi (Kanatla Ladies) Polokwane
- Lebohang Ramalepe (Maindis FC) Polokwane
- Nothando Vilakazi (Palace Super Falcons FC) Johannesburg
- Janine Van Wyk (JVW FC) Johannesburg
- Noko Matlou (Maindis FC) Polokwane
- Lerato Kgasago (Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies FC) Johannesburg
- Nomathemba Ntsibande (Springs Home Sweepers) Johannesburg
- Jabulile Mazibuko (TUKS) Pretoria
- Bambanani Mbane (Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies) Bloemfontein
- Letago Madiba (TUT Ladies) Pretoria
- Lebogang Mabatle (TUKS) Pretoria
- Mamello Makhabane (JVW FC) Johannesburg
- Amanda Dlamini (University of Johannesburg) Johannesburg
- Silindile Ngubane (Durban Ladies FC) Pietermaritzburg
- Refiloe Jane (VUT Ladies) Vaal
- Leandra Smeda (UWC Ladies) Cape Town
- Nompumelelo Nyandeni (JVW FC) Johannesburg
- Bongiwe Thusi (Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies FC) Johannesburg
- Linda Motlhalo (HPC) Pretoria
- Stephanie Malherbe (Texas A & M University) USA
- Sanah Mollo (Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies FC) Johannesburg
- Shiwe Nogwanya (Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies) Bloemfontein
- Thembi Kgatlana (UWC Ladies) Cape Town
- Busisiwe Ndimeni (Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies FC) Johannesburg
- Chantelle Essau (Palace Super Falcons FC) Johannesburg
- Andisiwe Mgcoyi (Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies FC) Johannesburg
Players not in the 29:
- Meagan Newman (Lee University) USA
- Zamandosi Cele (Durban Ladies FC) KZN
- Caryn Van Reyneveldt (Spurs WFC) Cape Town
- Alochia Thobokela (Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies FC) Johannesburg
- Amogelang Motau (HPC) Pretoria
- Rhoda Mulaudzi (injured) (Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies FC) Johannesburg
- Yolula Tsawe (Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies FC) Johannesburg
US-Based Players Not in Camp:
- Kelso Peskin (Tyler Junior College) USA
- Robyn Moodaly (University of Northwestern Ohio) USA
- Jermaine Seoposenwe (Samford University) USA
Photos: All file photos courtesy sasolinsport.co.za
With editing by gsport