Ivory Coast the real test for Banyana – Vera Pauw

2014-09-09 16:22

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Banyana Banyana face Botswana on Saturday but coach Vera Pauw has her sights set on their international friendly against the Ivory Coast on Heritage Day.

Pauw believes that the Ivory Coast match will give her team their biggest test yet.

Banyana are building up to the African Women’s Championships, which takes place in Namibia next month. They have been pitted against West Africans Cameroon and Ghana, as well as Algeria in Group B.

“I am glad that [the South African Football Association] and our sponsors Sasol will get the Ivory Coast over here,” said Pauw, whose side host Botswana at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Rustenburg.

According to the former Netherlands captain, who took charge of Banyana in March, Botswana, Zambia, and Tanzania play more or less the same style.

Banyana hammered Tanzania 6-1 and Zambia 4-0 in warm-up matches over the past two weeks.

“Initially we had problems with scoring goals but now we create so much more. Again, it all depends on the opponents because the stronger the better. The Ivory Coast will give us the real big test that we need so that we can actually see where we stand,” said Pauw during Banyana training at the Nike Football Centre in Pimville, Soweto, today.

It is almost five weeks until the Namibia Championships kick off.

Pauw said “every training session gets a little bit better” and that they have also been doing their homework on their group opponents.

“We have been watching the footage of Cameroon and they play the same the physical style as the Ivory Coast but they have different team organisation.

“The outbreak of Ebola did not help us to get a variety of (West African) opponents but we have to deal with what we have and the two (Botswana and the Ivory Coast) will give us a variety before the competition starts.”

Pauw fancies Banyana’s chances in Namibia.

She said the gap had closed between women’s teams in the continent and that after powerhouse Nigeria failed to win the cup in Equatorial Guinea in 2012 “it’s for the other countries to make sure it happens again”.

“Nigeria have the numbers and that is why they have dominated the continent for so long. They always had 30 players in camp on a full-time programme because many of them are signed with the police and the army teams and they train every day.”

The Banyana game against Botswana kicks off at 3pm.

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